‘Black Hawk Down’ Drill Prepares Roseville for Mass Casualty Event
ROSEVILLE, Calif. — A military Black Hawk helicopter bringing trauma patients to Sutter Roseville Medical Center was struck by a drone and crash-landed on the SRMC helipad, with about a dozen injured victims crying for help. That was the scenario facing Sutter Roseville’s emergency services team, which partnered with the Roseville and Rocklin fire departments, the Army National Guard and others for an emergency response drill called “Black Hawk Down” on Wednesday, June 19.
Erik Angle, Sutter Roseville’s emergency preparedness coordinator, told Fox 40 during a television interview that it’s important to work with other community agencies and practice these types of scenarios to “know who to talk to and know each other’s protocols and how you would respond so you can work together seamlessly. And that’s critical for any community to have.”
Sutter Roseville Medical Center is the premier Level II trauma center for a nine-county region that includes the Sierra Nevada and foothills. Victims of fires and other natural disasters and mass-casualty events could be brought to Sutter Roseville for treatment, especially since it is the only Northern California hospital that has a helipad that can support large military-type helicopters like the Black Hawk and even a Chinook.
The backdrop to Wednesday’s drill was the Sutter Roseville construction project that includes an expansion of the hospital’s emergency services, which will double the size and capabilities of the current Emergency Department. Built into that expansion are elements that will be very beneficial during a mass casualty situation, including the ability to convert the new E.D. lobby into a treatment area in a community emergency.
“To practice these (emergency situations) ahead of time is critical,” Angle said. “That way if they do happen in reality, we’ve already worked out all the kinks.”
Already, Angle is planning another community emergency disaster drill early next year to be staged in the new portion of the Emergency Department right before it opens, so that they are well-prepared for any emergency once the new building opens.