National Guard, OU Medical Center Train For Disaster Response

Thursday, November 15th 2018, 6:37 pm
By: Clayton Cummins

OU Medicine and the Oklahoma National Guard teamed up for disaster preparedness training Thursday morning.

Training took place at OU Medical Center and involved both soldiers and volunteers.  The drill was part of the annual “Earth Wind and Fire” exercise that tests state and local emergency management agencies during a major disaster.

“Being able to do this exercise with the community and involve the 169th medical battalion, it really enchases the resources that are available,” said Rowdy Anthony, Associate Vice President of Emergency & Trauma Services at OU Medical Center.

A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter landed outside the trauma center. In the scenario, three national guard members were hurt in a rollover crash while responding to a motor vehicle crash. Patients were taken via helicopter, and staff worked inside the hospital.

They had no idea what was about to come through the door.

“If you have everything planned out and you know what is coming, then you can anticipate what the needs are. So, you want the training to be like a real world scenario,” said Anthony.

Part of the training included moving patients from the Black Hawk helicopter into the hospital while helicopter rotors were still in motion. It is known as “hot offloading.”

Communication seemed to be the name of the game for both parties involved.

“We have our army lingo that we use,” said Chris Bowling, Staff Sargent with the Oklahoma National Guard.

“Some of them [hospital staff] are familiar with it because they are prior service. And some of them are not. So, that is what today was. It was all of us getting on the same page.”

Whenever and wherever disaster strikes, Oklahoma first responders are ready. 

“We just want the community out there to know that we are part of the community. We are here to help,” said Bowling.

National Guard and OU Medical Center officials will sit down to discuss how the drill went and decide what can be changed.

Click here for more information on OU Medical Center’s level one trauma center.