Airport disaster exercise puts response capabilities to the test
Every 3 years, the Wichita Airport Authority conducts an FAA-mandated full-scale disaster exercise.
The most recent one took place last week, with Via Christi Health hospitals playing a critical role - just as they would should a real disaster take place.
As part of the disaster training scenario, "survivors" of a "crash" involving a large commercial aircraft and a small general aviation aircraft were transported to Via Christi hospitals.
Via Christi Hospital on St. Teresa - the only full-service hospital in west Wichita - received 21 patients. Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis, the only area facility with both a Level 1 Trauma Center and Regional Burn Center, received 19 via ground transport.
"We're now taking the feedback from the post-exercise debriefing and compiling into an after-action report and improvement plan," said Carolyn Koehn, director of Safety for Via Christi's Wichita hospitals. "This is how we make sure that we take what we've learned and use it to make the necessary improvements.
"The exercise went extremely well overall. As we always do, we found opportunities for improvement in both training and work processes," said Koehn. "But that's why we do these drills. It helps us get prepared for things we thankfully don't see every day."