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Mock pandemic gives Nashua officials valuable experience
Volunteers set up a mock Alternate Care Site on Friday at Nashua High School South to handle an emergency exercise involving a flu pandemic. (KIMBERLY HOUGHTON/Union Leader Correspondent)
The exercise, which took place at Nashua High School South, was designed to increase the Greater Nashua medical surge capacity if the city’s two hospitals were maxed out with patients.
Friday’s mock emergency was a flu pandemic, overflowing local hospitals and forcing the creation of an Alternate Care Site at Nashua High School South. During the exercise, a group of about 45 individuals helped organize and set up the fake triage area, observation section and many beds for patients.
As mock patients arrived with different symptoms and different severities of illnesses, volunteers were assigned to assist the sick individuals and assess their conditions. Physicians and nurse practitioners were on hand to help with the mock pandemic and prioritize the patients according to their needs.
The Greater Nashua Public Health Network hosted the exercise, and was joined by many regional partners, including St. Joseph Hospital, Southern New Hampshire Medical Center, the city’s Division of Public Health and Community Services, AMR Ambulance, Dartmouth Hitchcock of Nashua, the city’s Emergency Management Division, a local medical reserve corps, the Nashua fire marshal and others.
“In an emergency, they are going to be the first ones getting called, so they take these exercises very seriously. They know how important it is to practice these skills,” she said, adding there often isn’t time to read a written plan during a mass casualty event or pandemic.
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