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CBH proceeds with winter weather exercise planning
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HOISINGTON — On Wednesday morning, Clara Barton Hospital Director of Nursing Jane Schepmann facilitated a winter weather exercise for emergency service personnel from throughout Barton County.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss how emergency services in Hoisington would respond to a weather storm scenario that lasted three days and to provide participants with an opportunity to evaluate current responses to hospital emergencies during a winter storm. The group also discussed interoperable communication and public information during a wide-spread emergency, and how to provide resources, and equipment to care for the community.

With over 30 in attendance, Schepmann thought the meeting went very well. "We had a very good, meaningful discussion," she said.

Barton County Emergency Preparedness Director Amy Miller agreed and thought the exercise identified issues that needed to be dealt with.

The group plans to do more meetings in the future. They have identified training areas and want to find things that are lacking, Schepmann said.

She also spoke of the importance of documenting numbers of volunteers and keeping paperwork for three to five years to comply with Federal Emergency Management Agency requirements. It was suggested to document with pictures and newspaper articles.

Also discussed were usage of facilities for hot food and shelter.

The top strengths of the meeting, the group decided, were a willingness to engage in communication and work together, to have policies in place to begin documentation, and the years of experience in the group.

Areas that needed improvement were learning use of the narrow band radio, the reorganization shuffle with closed hospital beds, getting used to new forms, and generator support.

The exercise will affect not only how the groups work together and share resources, but will also allow them to request additional funding and grants at the state and the federal level.