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VA Western New York Healthcare System

 

Earthquake Disaster Drill

A group photo taken in front of an airplane used to simulate an evacuation of VA employees, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), Airforce personnel, police who participated in the disaster drill.

VA employees, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), Department of Defense personnel, Erie County and New York State employees and law enforcement are just some of the key organizations who participated in the disaster drill.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

VA Western New York Healthcare System in partnership with other federal, military, state and local agencies participated in an exercise implementing the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) Wednesday, June 15 at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

The exercise, began at 9:00 a.m. and simulated what would happen if a catastrophic earthquake occurred on the New Madrid fault-line in the mid-western portion of the country. The scenario included casualties who required evacuation to and from established patient reception areas across the country. As well as evaluating the evacuation of Western New York patients to other Federal Coordinating Centers (FCCs).

NDMS coordinates response of emergency medical services in case of a disaster of great magnitude. In each area, a federal hospital has been designated as Federal Coordinating Center (FCC.)  In the event of an activation of the NDMS, VA WNY Healthcare System is designated FCC in Western New York and responsible for coordinating activities to include transportation, communication, medical manpower, and establishing patient administration procedures for injured patients evacuated from disaster zones.

This exercise was a cooperative effort of the Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Healthcare Network Upstate New York, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Defense, New York State Department of Health, Erie and Niagara County Health Departments, Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) Greater Niagara-Buffalo, Niagara Falls Air Base 914th Airlift Group, and area community hospitals. Nationally, NDMS is made up of approximately 2,000 hospitals, medical evacuation and regulating system, and specialized teams. “Practicing a potential disaster is important and makes handling a real emergency run as smooth as possible,” stated William F. Feeley, medical center director. “Working together with all levels of government and community agencies strengthens the work relationships which many more benefits in helping Veterans and the community are realized.”

NDMS compliments state and local efforts in 75 areas of the United States in the event of a wide spread disaster such as earthquakes, storms, fires, nuclear reactor accidents, weapons of mass destruction events, or an overseas conventional military conflict producing military casualties evacuated to the United States for treatment requiring mutual aid among different areas of the nation.

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