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Flathead hospital prepared for emergency situations

By Kevin Lessard, KCFW Reporter, klessard@kcfw.com
Published On: Aug 06 2014 05:47:00 AM MDT
Updated On: Jun 13 2014 11:45:05 PM MDT
KALISPELL, Mont. -

At Kalispell Regional Medical Center this week, medical teams jumped into action as news came in of an explosion at the Plum Creek plant in Columbia Falls Tuesday.

Hospital staffers practice mass casualty drills on a continuing basis.

No one wants a large-scale emergency to happen, but KRMC Emergency Planner Bill Boyd says his hospital has to be ready for anything.

He and KRMC Chief of Security Frank Garner tell NBC Montana they have planned out scenarios for any incident imaginable.

"We train. This isn't the first time this has come up, because we see ourselves as a community asset, so it's important we're prepared for these kinds of events," said Garner.

When the call of an explosion came in, Garner and Boyd had to react fast. They called in extra personnel and kept others late.

Garner says how they react -- and how quickly -- is key.

"During an event like this we make sure we anticipate what some of the injuries might be and that we have the staff and equipment available to be able to handle those as they come in," Garner said.

They got on the phone with other hospitals. Things like extra medical supplies are necessary, so they called supply companies to notify them of the potential need.

Boyd says he's thankful no one got hurt. He hopes his team at the hospital can use this experience and grow from it.

"We always learn lessons, and in this case it's no different. We debrief after this event and after all our exercises we identify action items we want to work on and then we set to work to get those completed," said Boyd.