W. Va. Nursing Home Practices Disaster Drill with First Responders
Sept. 29—BLUEFIELD—Firefighters, police officers and a rescue squad converged Thursday on a local nursing home after a fire alarm was sounded, but the only smoke there was being generated by a machine. It was all part of a mock disaster designed to prepare the home's personnel and local first responders for a real emergency.
The drill started approximately 1:45 p.m. Members of the Bluefield Fire Department used its fire engines to block off South Street while more than a dozen of the home's residents were evacuated. They returned a few minutes later when the drill was completed. Members of the Bluefield Police Department and Bluefield Rescue Squad participated in the exercise.
Maintenance and Environmental Supervisor Larry Silcox said afterward that the state requires nursing home facilities to have a mock disaster drill once a year.
"We were practicing the most realistic possibility, which is fire," he said.
The Maples has a fire drill every month, but a mock disaster gave The Maples personnel an opportunity to work with firefighters, the local police and the rescue squad, Silcox stated. Results were reviewed later to see if any emergency procedures could be improved.
Chief Rick Cary of the Bluefield Fire Department said the mock disaster's scenario was a storage room fire. A smoke machine was used to simulate the blaze.
The exercise went well, he added.
"Excellent," Cary said. "They all did excellent, very well."