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Tri-County Health Care tests emergency response plan

On Thursday, Jan. 13, Tri-County Health Care tested its emergency response capabilities with a crisis drill. The planned exercise, involving an ice storm and multiple equipment failures, was a tabletop drill and did not include enactments and did not affect operations.

"Tri-County Health Care provides an essential service to Wadena and its neighboring communities. We routinely engage in emergency response testing and assessments. Scenarios typically involve a widespread and imminent threat to patient safety or business continuity. Ensuring the safety and security of our patients, while being available for new patients and emergencies, is at the heart of what we do," said Allen Smith, Tri-County Health Care Emergency Medical Services (EMS) manager.

The table-top drill scenario involved a hypothetical crisis event occurring in Wadena closing major highways and affecting day-to-day operations. Members of Tri-County Health Care's crisis team discussed various scenarios and responses.

"It's an unfortunate reality that we face the unknown risks, either natural or man-made. Tri-County Health Care needs to be prepared to respond to any form of crisis that would impact our ability to provide essential health care and emergency services in our region. It's critical to have the support and coordination of local agencies that would simultaneously respond to a large-scale crisis," said Joel Beiswenger, Tri-County Health Care president and CEO.

Scott McKellep, Wadena County Emergency Management director and Robin Johnson, Lakewood Health System director of safety also participated in the event.

"We've brought together a great team of partners from within our organization and throughout the region," said Smith. "It's important for us to practice what we would do in an emergency situation, build on best practices and what works, and find solutions for things we can do better."