WEST PLAINS - A 24-foot emergency response trailer made its way to Ozarks Medical Center recently, providing a missing link in the region's emergency response plan, said West Plains Fire Department Chief Tim Bean.
The trailer and contents are to be used during disasters or mass casualty incidents. They were purchased through the National Bioterrorism Hospital Preparedness Program Grant through the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This grant funding is administered by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services through a contract with the Missouri Hospital Association.
"All of Troop G, including Oregon County, will be able to use the trailer," said Sheila Boggess, media relations specialist for OMC. "The trailer will be available to the region. We are just the overseers of the trailer," she said.
"OMC is to be commended for stepping up to the plate," said Bean about the hospital's role in accepting responsibility for the trailer. "This is the link we were needing. I'm really pleased with this." The fire department is partnering with OMC so if disaster strikes, the fire department actually hauls the trailer to the nearest site of the tragedy, whether that is an accident with multiple injuries, a tornado aftermath or an earthquake.
On hand to inspect the trailer was OMC Director of Emergency Services Dennise Lawson, who walked into the trailer and immediately started checking out the many cartons of supplies.
"This is wonderful," she said, looking at large bins full of splint supplies, bedpans, blankets and 25 yellow backboards lined up against one wall. In the corner, a blinking console with a satellite dish on the roof makes communication available wherever the trailer travels.
Brad Strecker, a consultant with the Missouri Hospital Association, accompanied the trailer to the OMC hospital campus along with Willie Wright, installation manager of Amalfi, a Lake Ozark company that designed the trailers. Emergency response officials in the region plus OMC employees were recently trained on how to best use the emergency response trailer.