Orlando Health preps for worst-case scenarios

Hospital learns from other facilities dealing with disasters

ORLANDO, Fla. – Emergency response teams were tested Wednesday in a mock disaster drill at Orlando Regional Medical Center.

The hospital set up mobile units, tents that can be ready in less than two hours, to practice trauma situations in case the physical hospital ever becomes overwhelmed.

The units are blown-up tents, with medical supplies, gurneys and emergency capabilities that can triage patients with lesser injuries, like cuts or broken bones. Potential victims with more serious injuries would be taken into the main emergency room.

Emergency Preparedness Manager Eric Alberts said the training is necessary as more tragedies, including mass shootings and natural disasters, happen.

"This is not just about the tents and the chairs and the beds. This is about leadership. This is about training. This is about the development of our staff, the teamwork component. If we can build the teamwork here, we can do it in a disaster at the hospital or anywhere else," Alberts said.

ORMC's capabilities have already been tested with tragedies, like the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub.

The hospital was praised for its response, but they admit that there were blind spots, including not having enough translators and crisis chaplains available. Those units are now part of mock scenarios.

ORMC also takes notes from other situations that happen across the country.

When tornadoes destroyed Joplin, Missouri, the hospital there did not have enough basic supplies, including flashlights. ORMC now has emergency supply packs on every floor.

"We didn't have that tornado, but we learned from their experience to make it better at Orlando Health because if it does happen, we want to be ready," Alberts said.

ORMC holds this type of drill once a year.