CHHS Leads Central Maryland Exercise in Preparing for a Disaster
The Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland
Security, and 10 hospitals from Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince
George's, and St. Mary's counties are better prepared for an all hazards
incident following parallel exercises on June 20 -- developed,
conducted, and evaluated by the University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security (CHHS).
The scenario, a train derailment in suburban Rockville, Md., is just
one type of event that can affect jurisdictions as a whole, and public
and private entities within them. Having plans to deal with such
emergencies is critical, but of equal importance is training for and
simulating real-world-like exercises to test the capabilities of staff
and the effect on personnel, equipment, and infrastructure.
While the goal of Montgomery County's functional exercise was to test
response capabilities within the county, the hospital exercise was a
regional coordination effort to test medical surge plans during a mass
At Shady Grove Adventist Hospital (which includes Adventist Behavioral
Health, Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital of Maryland, Shady Grove
Adventist Hospital, and Germantown Emergency Center), mock events
started at 9 a.m. They began with the announcement by the
Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems that a train carrying hazardous materials had derailed, and could present an influx
of patients to hospitals in Region V. Throughout the exercise,
staff at Shady Grove assessed the need for a decontamination area and
practiced treating patients (inflatable dummies) in the Emergency
Department. The participants even addressed an active shooter scenario
on the medical campus.
"Maryland has had its fair share of train derailments, including a very
similar scenario last month in Rosedale -- which happened after the
topic for this drill was determined," said CHHS Acting Exercise
and Training Program Manager Laura
Hoch. "We can't stress enough, while weather-related
incidents are most commonly planned for and exercised, hospitals and
emergency responders need to know their roles in protecting the public
following a variety of potential all hazards disasters."
Exercise, evaluation, and training staff at CHHS handled all aspects of
the activities. For example, staff member Matt Miziorko, shown in the photo
above, worked as a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specialist with
the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland
Security, developing maps that detailed potential risks of hazardous
materials surrounding the mock train derailment.
CHHS provided a range of services, from addressing areas of training
needed by each individual facility to conducting follow-up evaluations
that will identify gaps to be addressed prior to an actual emergency.
CHHS has extensive experience in these matters. Past clients have
included local governments across Maryland and the Ssate's Emergency
Management Agency, as well as colleges, hospitals, and the D.C.
Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency.
CHHS is a nonprofit consulting group and academic center committed to
developing plans, policies, and strategies for government, corporate,
and institutional clients to ensure the safety of citizens in the event
of natural or man-made catastrophes. It offers planning services in
continuity of operations, critical infrastructure protection,
interoperability, mass evacuation and sheltering, and resource
Numerous public health organizations also have sought out CHHS
expertise on issues such as medical surge planning, legal issues
surrounding public health emergencies, and hospital preparedness and
|Posting Date: 06/21/2013
|Contact Name: Danielle Lueking
|Contact Phone: 410-706-3985
|Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org