Upper Chesapeake hospital to conduct emergency drill Sunday

November 03, 2011

On Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air, members of Harford County's first responder agencies and the Harford County Emergency Operations Center will be holding an emergency drill at a specified area of its campus.

This exercise will allow the hospital to test its readiness for rare, but critical emergency scenarios.

"It's important to make our neighbors, visitors and patients aware of this exercise since we will have a fair number of first responders, including law enforcement, fire and EMS, on-site to make the drill as 'real' as possible," Martha D. Mallonee, director of corporate communications, marketing and public relations for Upper Chesapeake Health, wrote in an email.

Upper Chesapeake Health makes patient safety and quality its number one priority, she said. The exercise has been carefully planned, will not disrupt patient care functions nor present any risk to any of the participants involved. Hospital officials ask that people visiting the campus during the drill follow any signs, as well as directions, from team members and first responders.

Mallonee said a message will go out over the county's Connect-CTY system to reassure residents there is no real emergency.

She said the hospital has not performed a drill that involved local law enforcement agencies, namely the Bel Air Police Department, for several years.

The drill will include scenarios in which police might be called in to restore order, such as a hostage situation.

"This drill on Sunday is actually going to be somewhat more noticeable because we are going to have a drill using a lot of our emergency responders from the [Harford County] Sheriff's Office, the police department," Mallonee said. "We are just trying to get the word out to people."

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