On June 22, 2023, the Northwest Healthcare Response Network (the Network) hosted the Medical Response & Surge Exercise (MRSE) to assess the ability to perform key functions in response to an influx of patients. With more than thirty (30) participating organizations representing hospitals, public health, emergency management, long-term care, and outpatient facilities there was ample opportunity to better understand organizational roles in a regional surge and test the burn surge annex developed in 2022.

“The past several years have reminded us that a surge of patients can happen at anytime, anywhere in Washington. Bringing together partners from multiple disciplines for this exercise was an excellent opportunity to further validate the burn annex the Northwest Healthcare Response Network developed. We are grateful for all the players who participated to strengthen our healthcare system preparedness.” – Susan Koppelmann, Director of Preparedness & Response

Players were challenged to navigate through a scenario in which natural forces and human activity create multiple burn mass casualty incidents, requiring close coordination between the exercise’s 80+ multi-sector, multi-jurisdictional participants. Players discussed solutions to challenges presented by the scenario that might hinder ability to communicate, coordinate patient care, allocate staff, apply special considerations to pediatric patients, and more.

The ability to have multi-sector, multi-regional conversations was supported by creating an inclusive environment in which all participants had an opportunity to share their perspective and increase engagement through polling technology. Thereby facilitating input from all participants, especially on critical and widely experienced issues, this strategy ensured the exercise delivered maximum value to a diverse audience.

Over 98% of participants rated the exercise highly. The Network will continue to develop exercises based off regional needs and/or hazard vulnerability assessments. All these exercises and subsequent discussions will pave the way for enhanced collaboration and preparedness in handling mass casualty incidents effectively.

Visit our calendar to stay up to date with upcoming Network led exercises.