This release was issued jointly with Central Washington University.
Emergency preparedness planning professionals will hold a full-scale exercise on April 21 simulating an emergency response in Kittitas County. Law enforcement, hospitals and healthcare organizations, public health agencies, and volunteer organizations from throughout central Washington will participate in the exercise at Central Washington University.
Participants will rehearse in real time the opening of an alternate care facility (ACF). Alternate care facilities are mobile, temporary sites meant to care for patients when local hospitals reach capacity. The facilities are intended for patients with minimal medical needs.
“Our goal in an emergency is an efficient, regional response,” said Jim Allen, disaster coordinator for Kittitas Valley Healthcare. “Practicing in advance allows us to address potential issues, so if the time comes to set up an ACF, we are prepared.”
Participating agencies are part of the Region 7 Healthcare Coalition, which covers Kittitas, Grant, Chelan, Douglas, and Okanogan counties. This is the seventh year the region will practice an emergency response. The exercise was originally planned for August 2015 but was rescheduled due to wildfires.
This year’s scenario is based on a major fire event in Upper Kittitas County resulting in numerous evacuations. Due to smoky conditions, a multiple-vehicle collision has closed Interstate 90. With local resources overwhelmed, including KVH, a 50-bed alternate care facility is needed to meet demand.
Members of the media are invited to attend from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Nicholson Pavilion Field House, both to report on the exercise and to participate in planning activities for potential large-scale incidents in the future.