There are more than a dozen hospitals in the Omaha metro area and they are constantly training to handle a mass casualty situation like the one in Las Vegas Sunday night. Shelly Schwedhelm is the head of emergency preparedness at Nebraska Medicine and says they follow the Hospital Incident Command System and use an all hazards approach.
Schwedhelm says training includes orientation, annual education and a robust training program and exercise program. They conduct drills where they collaborate within the community with the Omaha Metropolitan Medical Response System and have drills such as mass casualty injuries, chemical or other type of incidents that may occur.
If there was a large incident in the metro area Schwedhelm says they would put all hospitals on standby. There are two triage centers, one at Nebraska Medicine and the other at CHI Bergan Mercy that would handle the most critical patients.
Schwedhelm says first responders play a critical role in determining who goes to what medical facility. She says, “The take those critical patients from the scene four-by-four-by four, kind of back and forth until such time they really use the rest of the resources in the community. All hospitals prepare for the need to take incoming from a mass casualty event and that is exactly what would happen here in the metro too.”
Schwedhelm says once patients arrive at the emergency room they have a system in place to triage quickly so they are not filling their beds with minor injuries. That frees up time and space to treat the more critically injured.