FAYETTE, Iowa (February 26, 2007) – Palmer Homecare Services/Community Health of West Union, along with other local organizations, will be conducting an Emergency Tabletop Exercise on Feb. 28, 2007 at Upper Iowa University.
Joining the educational drill will be Mercy Hospital of Franciscan Sisters, American Red Cross, Palmer Lutheran Health Center; Bill Ziegler, Fayette County Homeland Security/Emergency Management coordinator and key personnel from Upper Iowa University.
A tabletop exercise is a low-stress event designed to stimulate discussion around an actual emergency situation. Participants are given a crisis scenario, which they then discuss in depth giving them the opportunity to make problem-solving decisions at a much slower, controlled pace than they would be able to if facing an actual emergency.
“It gives us the opportunity to learn each other’s role in an emergency so we don’t duplicate services,” said Ruth Schemmel, community health supervisor for Palmer Home Care Services/Community Health. “During an emergency, natural disaster or any other type of disaster, we want to be able to keep clear communication between all of the groups involved in order to be better prepared to meet the needs of the community. A tabletop exercise is a functional way to achieve this.”
Upper Iowa has been holding similar tabletop exercises since the first of the year, working with Schemmel and Ziegler to improve its current incident management plan and also to prepare for a possible pandemic flu situation. Members of the local fire, police and paramedic departments have also attended these meetings.
“We want to make sure our campus and community are prepared for emergency situations, and we want to become more efficient every time we do a drill,” said Louise Scott, dean of student development.
To find out more about Upper Iowa University and its degree programs, go to www.uiu.edu.