A hospital wildfire-evacuation drill staged Thursday afternoon by Payson Regional Medical Center was an unqualified success, according to Jim Heskett, the hospital's base station coordinator and drill organizer.
"We had great participation by outside agencies, and it gave us all a chance to put into practice things we learned from the Navapache evacuation (in Show Low during the Rodeo-Chediski fire)," Heskett said. "We are confidant that, should we ever be faced with an evacuation, our response would be swift, thorough and safe for our patients."
The wildfire scenario was chosen to allow hospital personnel and emergency crews from Payson Police and Fire Departments, LifeStar Ambulance and Native Air to refine PRMC's one-hour evacuation plan.
During the drill, all of the mock patients 26 cardboard adults and 4 cardboard infants were successfully mock-transported to Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix by ambulance and helicopter.
In a drill-within-the-drill, a motor vehicle accident was simulated, producing five trauma patients who were transported to PRMC's emergency room at the peak of the "evacuation."
The purpose of this complication, Heskett said, was to test the hospital's high-level emergency treatment while concurrently evacuating all inpatients.