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Ready for anything: Emergency responders refine protocols in simulated explosion at Stanford Stadium

12947-drill_victims_ffPlanning and practice are two mainstays of any emergency response team. That's why Stanford routinely conducts emergency drills such as a simulated explosion at Stanford Stadium last week. "Rather than waiting for something you have to lean in and anticipate," Palo Alto Police Chief Dennis Burns said in a Stanford Report story.

The two-hour drill simulated what it might be like if an explosion resulting in mass casualties occurred in Stanford Stadium. The event helped Stanford Hospital and police test their ability to coordinate a large emergency response effort with volunteers and more than 20 agencies from Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. "The exercise itself confirmed for us what works well and what needs to be fine tuned," said Stanford Police Chief Laura Wilson.

Since clear and accurate communication is essential in times of crisis, this emergency drill was also used by Stanford's Office of University Communications to assess their protocol for conveying critical information to the media, patient's loved-ones, and the Stanford community. From the report:

Kathy Harris, a public safety program manager who planned the exercise, said the components of the drill were identified long before the Boston Marathon emergency and the Asiana Airlines crash at San Francisco International Airport. The scenario was designed to test multiple procedures, including the need to change the command post in the middle of a response and to react to an unstable situation. "This was not a reaction to anything but part of our routine pro-active emergency planning," she said.

Holly MacCormick is a writing intern in the medical school’s Office of Communication & Public Affairs. She is a graduate student in ecology and evolutionary biology at University of California-Santa Cruz.

Previously: Plane crash creates unexpected learning environment for medical students“Preparation is everything:” More on how Stanford and Packard got ready for the Asiana crashAfter the plane crash: Inside the command center with Stanford Hospital’s chief of staffBehind-the-scenes look at treating SFO plane-crash survivors and “Everyone came together right away:” How Stanford response teams treated SFO plane-crash victims
Photo by L.A. Cicero

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