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Pocatello critical incident drill exceeds expectations

It was a quiet Thursday morning at Grace Lutheran High School when students were evacuated. Once they were all out of range, gunshots rang out and officers swarmed the building. All part of the critical incident training.

“You go through it, you practice, you have an idea and like you said you just improve from there, ” City of Pocatello PIO Logan McDougall said. ” Take notes and see what you can do better in the unfortunate circumstance that something like this were to occur.”

Although Idaho is one of five states that hasn’t had a mass shooting since 2013, the drill is a practice for something that seems more and more common every day.

On Wednesday, two people were killed in an incident in Seattle. Now, the agencies of southeastern Idaho are practicing.

13 patients arrived at Portneuf Medical Center Thursday afternoon and as soon as the mechanical doors opened “it’s triage, triage and triage,” trauma surgeon Jorge De Amorim Filho said.

Once patients are inside, the hospital staff evaluates each victim and gauges their injury.

” Because you have to decide who is going to survive and who is not going to survive, ” De Amorin Filho said about the decision the staff makes in a matter of seconds.

Thursday morning, the hospital staff was aware that a drill would be run, but none of the details were shared in an attempt to keep things as true to life as possible.

While doctors and nurses were tending to the simulated patients the hospital was still fully operational.

” That’s always a challenge for us because it never fails when you plan an exercise, you get busy, ” trauma EMS manager Greg Vickers explained. “But bad things happen when we’re busy, so we need to be prepared for these types of events, whether we’re slow or busy.”

“Actually, today, there was a trauma patient in the operating room when the drill was going on,” trauma director Drew McRoberts said.

By running the drills the hospital can get a better understanding of what is working for them and what needs to be changed for the future.

“For example, one of the things we found today was that it would be really nice to have pre-packaged amounts of material available for specific types of injuries,” McRoberts explained.

But when it comes down to it, it’s the team effort of everyone involved that makes things work.

“You need everyone, you don’t need a surgeon, you need everyone to work together to actually get good results,” De Amorin Filho said.

Both Portneuf and the Pocatello Police Department felt that the drill yielded those good results. In fact, Pocatello Police said that it exceeded expectations and Portneuf said that patient care was never compromised, despite the extra patients.

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