With the amount of devastation and casualties in Orlando many have been left wondering, would our local hospitals be ready to respond if an event happened here? A tragedy like Orlando is something no one can predict or explain, but dealing with the aftermath is something Sioux Falls and it's local hospitals train for rigorously.
"We practice these all throughout the year. We do multiple exercises and multiple drills based on various different events and that really helps us get our hands around any type of event that would happen for real in Sioux Falls or Eastern South Dakota." said Kevin Schlosser, the emergency management coordinator for Avera McKennan hospital.
Schlosser says the Sioux Falls' EMS team is responsible for triage of patients and getting them to the trauma centers at both Avera McKennan and Sanford. If additional beds are needed there are emergency teams available at both the Avera Heart Hospital and The Sioux Falls VA.
At Avera McKennan, Schlosser says when they get the call, they will implement the hospital's incident command system and start preparing their ER Department.
"We would look at the staff that are currently working, we can reassign them within the facility like do we need more staff down in emergency department? Do we need more clerical staff? More clinical staff? Just really depending on what that event is." said Schlosser.
That includes staff for turnaround time and making sure they have enough resources to care for patients that come through the doors. Gun violence is a growing topic of concern for most Americans, a big reason why our hospitals continue to stress preparedness.
"We have been doing a lot of training on workplace violence and that has been going on for the past two years where we are taking it to the clinics, the hospitals, just so that people are aware that unfortunately healthcare is not immune to an event or situation like that." said Schlosser.
South Dakota is also unique in that the state has three mobile emergency departments it can utilize. Two units are in Sioux Falls at Avera McKennan and Sanford, the third is based at Rapid City Regional.