Newman Regional Health is practicing emergency situations and surge capacity incidents. The hospital had its first Emergency Training Day in July. 

“Everyone should be practicing their emergency policies. It’s a big piece that sometimes gets overlooked. A lot of times we just kind of assume that things are going to go well, but when disasters do happen it’s really important that we have that education and background and that we are familiar with our policies and know how to react quickly and efficiently,” said Jordan Hartman, the emergency management coordinator for Newman Regional Health. 

The entire hospital and various state and community health and emergency response groups came together to train for a wide range of possible emergency situations, including responding to a pretend Ebola patient.

“Newman Regional Health is a front-line hospital. So we work to identify and isolate these patients to prevent the spread of that disease. And then we work with our state partners and health officials to transfer that patient to a higher level of care. (The staff member) has on a Tyvek (hazmat) suit, so that all of her skin is covered to protect herself.  And she is wearing a pauper, which provides her with oxygen into this special hood. She’s got two layers of gloves on, and every action that she makes is careful and deliberate, so there’s no exposure to herself and the environment. These pathogens don’t play for fun, they play for keeps. And we are not going to get a second chance. So that’s why we do these exercises, to make sure that we are prepared and we can safely deliver that care,” explains Ester Knobloch, an infection prevention specialist at the hospital.  

Although this was Newman Regional Health’s first whole day training session, more practice in the future is certain.

“We want to start working on acts of violence. That’s something we will focus on as a county in the future,” says Hartman. 

The hospital reports the closest its come in recent years to having a surge capacity incident, is the July 2017 water shortage in Emporia.