PHOTOS & VIDEO: Lakewood officials took part a full-scale emergency exercise at the Ocean Medical Center yesterday. The exercise scenario presented a major hurricane and power outage in Brick Township, leading the hospital to shelter-in-place and eventually evacuate by land and air.
The purpose of the “Operation Surf’s Up” drill is to examine interactions between local and State resources during a disaster, with focus on coordination and collaboration of effectively evacuating patients from Ocean Medical Center. It also tested the local resources’ ability to request additional resources if such an event should occur.
Drills are common throughout the year, but this drill was one of the largest ever conducted. The care and treatment of real patients at the medical center and those in the emergency department continued as usual, without interruption of service while the drill took place.
Ocean Medical Center has partnered with the Brick Township Police Department and the Brick Township Office of Emergency Management to conduct the drill. Public service agencies throughout the community and state also volunteered their time to participate in the exercise, which involved individuals acting as patients. Exercises of this nature help first responders, medical professionals, and administrators better prepare for a true community emergency.
“This exercise is about identifying best practices and guidelines for an organized, systematic, and safe response to a situation that may require a partial or full evacuation of a hospital,” said Ocean Medical Center President, Dean Q. Lin, MHA, MBA, FACHE. “We expect to learn many valuable lessons and identify best practices that can then be shared with other regional hospitals.”
Participation and planning of the of the drill involved multiple additional agencies including: Brick Township Police EMS, Brick Township Bureau of Fire Safety, Breton Woods Fire Company, Herbertsville Fire Company, Laurelton Fire Company, Pioneer Hose Fire Company, Lakewood EMS, Lakewood Township Emergency Management, New Jersey EMS Task Force, Ocean County EMS Coordinator and the Ocean County Health Department. With the cooperation of the New Jersey and Ocean County Offices of Emergency Management numerous EMS squads from throughout the state also participated in the drill. Several Askonim involved with the Hospital were also present at the drill.
“Drills and exercises sharpen our skills at the all levels,” said Brick Township Police Chief Nils R. Bergquist. “The lessons learned and the practice makes the department better prepared to handle all hazards. The department has long enjoyed a great relationship with the staff of Ocean Medical Center. The work that has gone into this drill has reinforced that relationship which results in an enhanced quality of service for all in our community.”
“This drill is another example of the high level of commitment the Brick Township Police Department and the Ocean Medical Center have to protecting our community,” said Mayor Stephen Acropolis. “They are constantly preparing for all types of emergency situations and citizens should take comfort knowing that they do.” TLS.