By Adria Estribou
Healthcare Association of Hawai`i
Healthcare Association of Hawai`i Emergency Services assisted students from the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) and our simulated patient lab, SimTiKi, with an airway management study during a joint hurricane readiness exercise last month on Kaua`i. The simulation scenario included release of organic phosphate into the air from wind-blown fertilizer. There was a gap in published literature about the use of full personal protective equipment (PPE) when treating patients with acute respiratory needs. JABSOM graduate students flew over to join the exercise and start to fill this gap in the literature. Team members executed advanced airway techniques while wearing PPE under disaster-like conditions.The annual Makani Pahili preparedness exercise included HAH member facilities along with Hawai`i Civil Defense (Now the Hawai`i Emergency Management Agency), the Department of Health, and other agencies. Two days were devoted to testing the “online request for assistance” and status boards on “WebEOC” as well as other communication devices such as satellite phones, and radio communications.
During the week HAH Emergency Services also coordinated a field exercise in the parking lot of Hawai`i Pacific Health’s Wilcox Memorial Hospital. A 10-person Hawai`i Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) set up a 20-bed acute care module and supported Wilcox Memorial hospital by triaging, treating and managing overflow of simulated hurricane trauma patients.
Hurricane season in Hawai`i runs from July to December.