In the wake of the tragedy that stuck Belgium today, we wanted to know, if local emergency responders are prepared should a disaster strike Montana? With dozens of patients coming in with serious injuries, could a hospital in rural Montana cope with that kind of patient influx?
The answer is yes. This hospital is able to handle a terrorist attack like what happened in Brussels today at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital, staff says, there is an iron tight emergency plan in place. But there is always room to learn.
"we are always looking at it to make sure that meets all the different things that could happen."
Jason Buchovecky is the emergency planning coordinator at Bozeman Health. He says that if a terrorist attack were to strike in Montana, their plan works in two tiers.
“Our plan currently has tiers for patients. So an influx of 10-15 patients, 15-25 patients, and greater than 25”
The plan works like this. If the number of victims is less than 10, the hospital would follow a bottom tier plan. Which is basically running the hospital as normal. If the disaster is bigger, the staff follows the highest tier.
“Bringing in more staff. We have the ability to both doctor and nurses into the emergency department as well as the rest of the hospital in order to manage the larger patient influx.”
But overall when it comes to any medical emergency it’s all about the inpatient care. Buchovecky says the focus is not on the disaster itself, but how many patients are impacted.
"We don't worry about what the emergency is, but how many patients are coming from that and how are we going to deal with those patients."
Bozeman health also does live exercise scenarios. Last year they did one with in connection with the airport. This allows the staff to get the practice they need should a real life disaster ever strike.