The Bangor International Airport conducted its tri-annual airport disaster drill on May 16. The Federal Aviation Administration requires airports across the country to conduct full-scale disaster exercises once every three years. The exercise is usually designed around a mass causality scenario. The Northeastern Maine Regional Healthcare Coalition, 26 health care and behavioral health partners, participated in the drill as well as Maine CDC’s District Public Health Liaisons and the director of Disaster Behavioral Health. Maine CDC staff was assigned in different roles including as observers, evaluators, and debriefing throughout the exercise.
One of the elements of the exercise involved moving behavioral health patients from emergency departments to behavioral health care facilities. This involved new health care partners in the behavioral health care sector that have not participated in a drill of this scale in the past. The long term care and home health partners tested new plans to assist with decompressing hospitals during time of medical surge.
The participants in the exercise then attended a ‘Hot Wash’ that illustrated strengths and weaknesses that were observed by the evaluators. There were many lessons learned and captured to assist in future development of disaster plans.