Fayetteville, NC, September 2, 2009
Emergency Planning Takes Flight at Fayetteville Works
If an employee at the Fayetteville Works plant in Fayetteville, N.C., suffered a serious injury, he or she would have to be transported to a trauma center at least 25 minutes away. The best way to reach a center in a timely manner is by air ambulance – or helicopter – which requires a well coordinated effort by the site’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) and the air ambulance crews.
To ensure everything goes as it should, the ERT recently conducted comprehensive training exercises with four trauma centers that support the site.
• Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville, N.C.
• New Hanover County Medical Center in Wilmington, N.C.
• Wake Medical Center in Raleigh, N.C.
• Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.
Each medical center had their air ambulance fly into the site to provide the ERT hands-on experience. Along with giving the ERT a tour of the medical helicopter, the air ambulance crews provided training on aircraft safety measures, capabilities and response times, landing zone set-up protocols and procedures to load patients. They also worked with the ERT to understand hazards specific to Fayetteville Works.
“Emergency planning is critical for any site and is particularly important to Fayetteville Works since we are located in a rural area southeast of the city of Fayetteville,” said Karen Wrigley, Fayetteville Works site manager. “The ERTs here at the site benefit significantly from the interactions with the external response teams, and having the external teams learn more about us and our hazards is a big advantage for them when it comes to responding to an emergency. We consider partnership with these community resources as part of our right to operate, especially when it comes to emergency planning.”
According to the site’s Incident Commanders Otis Evans and Ken McMillan, the ERT and the four air ambulance crews all gained valuable skills and understanding from the training.
“The life flight training that we received will provide a great benefit to the site and employees in the event of a catastrophic accident that would require rapid transport to a trauma center,” Otis said. “The team benefited greatly in obtaining knowledge of air ambulance operations. The air crews were just as interested in learning from us as we were from them."
Ken added, “Our ERT routinely works with our mutual aid agencies to learn and practice skills in order to be thoroughly prepared to respond to fire, hazmat and medical emergencies that might affect the site and our employees.”