AUSTIN, Texas - Health care agencies in our area are testing out their disaster preparedness plans in case of a mass casualty incident. While the exercise was already scheduled, it came just hours after a shooting in California left 12 people dead. Capital Area Trauma Regional Advisory Council facilitated the exercise, which included a simulated mass casualty scenario. 

  • Numerous Texas hospitals ran mass casualty drills Thursday
  • Drills came on the heels of a mass shooting in California. 
  • Drills allows participants to assess resources and action plans 

“It allows us to practice some of the plans that we have put together on paper and implement those through the disasters response exercise and identify where those areas that we might need to improve upon and make those changes so we stand ready,” said Robin Wiatrek, deputy director of the Capital Area Trauma Regional Advisory Council.

Volunteers at Dell Children’s Medical Center acted out as patients with a range of injuries. Once those patients were wheeled into the hospital, the health care teams inside started triage and treatment based on the patients’ medical condition. The goal is to test how well they can stay focused and communicate with their regional partners. Health care facilities and emergency management services across eleven counties participated in their own events. 

“It allows to see what type of resources we have together as a region and where we might need to lean on each other,” Wiatrek said.

The Thousand Oaks shooting serves as a reminder of reality and Wiatrek said it reinforced the importance of working through their processes and looking at how they can refine their action plans. There were exercise evaluators at each facility and everyone who participated will eventually come together to talk about what needs to improve. ​

“You never know what can happen and so we just want to make sure that we’re always doing what we can to keep our citizens and our community safe and get back to some normalcy if something should occur. We hope that that would never occur, but it’s important to be prepared,” Wiatrek said.