Hurricane ready

WAIMEA — An earthquake that struck Japan and triggered a small tsunami served as an important reminder at Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital.

“There was an earthquake in Japan and a tsunami alert was in effect, but it was called off,” said a nurse rushing to the Command Center established in the hospital’s conference room Friday afternoon. “Now, we’re dealing with a Category 3 hurricane.”

The hurricane that impacted the island nation of Griffon was used as a scenario from RIMPAC, a military exercises in the Pacific, which involved both KVMH and Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital on Friday, said Missy Keyes-Saiki, KVMH spokeswoman.

“Two casualties, both employees at the hospital, will be flown in from Oahu via helicopter to the Pacific Missile Range Facility and transported to KVMH via ambulance,” Keyes-Saiki said about the training exercise. “We have two additional casualties waiting at the hospital to join the two being flown in so we can be certified during the exercise.”

During the RIMPAC war games, the Phase I Local response will include 20 hospitals, including KVMH and SMMH, on five of the Hawaiian Islands.

The exercise involves simulating mass care and movement of more than 160 casualties on Ford Island, Oahu, and transporting the casualty-actors aboard U.S. Army helicopters and ambulance-buses to 19 hospitals in Hawaii.

The purpose of this Healthcare Association of Hawaii Emergency Services exercise is to enhance emergency responses, which would be utilized during major emergencies and disasters in Hawaii, states a release from the HAH.


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