FARMINGTON — Franklin Memorial Hospital will conduct a drill Tuesday focusing on the management of a patient with an infectious disease to test the hospital’s emergency operation plan.

The drill will go from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will involve several of the hospital’s emergency units and medical departments, but officials say it won’t disrupt the hospital’s normal operations. The drill is part of FMH’s Joint Commission compliance and readiness program.

“Even though the Ebola threat has died down, it’s still out there,” said Michael Senecal, NorthStar director and FMH emergency preparedness coordinator Wednesday. “And there may be another infectious disease in three months, six months, or further down the road that we need to be ready for.”

The drill will include the staff of the emergency department, the environmental services lab, the X-ray department, NorthStar EMS and administration. The drill will also include outside organizations such as the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention that would be necessary to call in the case of a patient with an infectious disease.

Senecal said there will be no interruption in the hospital’s daily functions, as the administration has planned to have additional staff working the morning of the drill to make sure that the emergency room can still function at full capacity and that the families of patients admitted to the hospital will still have access.

Tuesday’s drill is meant to test the readiness of FMH’s emergency plan. Following the drill at 1 p.m., participants will take part in a discussion about how the drill went, identifying strengths and weaknesses that the emergency plan may have. Within the following week, a more formal meeting will address how the drill reflected the soundness of the emergency plan and tweaks that may be made if needed, Senecal said.

In the past, FMH has done several emergency drills, but this is the first one directed at the containment and treatment of a patient with an infectious disease. Last year, FMH teamed up with the University of Maine at Farmington to conduct an active shooter drill. The hospital has also conducted a hazardous materials drill and a grandstand drill.

Last year, a drill they had previously conducted regarding how the hospital would handle the collapse of a ski lift at one of the area’s ski areas was put to the test when Sugarloaf’s King Pine lift malfunctioned, causing the lift to roll back. Four people were injured when they jumped from the lift during the malfunction and were taken to FMH for treatment of injuries that were not considered life threatening.

Senecal said there was no question that conducting a drill for a similar situation helped the FMH staff treat the patients from the Sugarloaf accident.

“When you do the drills, you actually test the procedures and the flow of the patients. (The drills) allow you to find potential weaknesses. If weaknesses are found, the hospital will tweak the emergency plan,” Senecal said.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate

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