Participants look over a map of the area during the exercise.

On July 25, 2018, Mitchell Manor in Mitchell, Indiana, participated in an emergency preparedness event at the Downtown Depot in Bedford, Indiana.


Kathi Hignite-Owens, executive director, and Derik Belcher, maintenance supervisor, attended the exercise, Whirlwind on the Westside, along with other local health care providers and local police and fire departments. The Lawrence County Healthcare Coalition put together the event to allow health care professionals to practice emergency preparedness plans and identify community resources.


The drill included a scenario in which a tornado came through the area and damaged one of the other skilled nursing facilities, the local hospital and several emergency medical transportation vehicles.


Organizers included a map of the affected areas, and each participant was then given a set of details to work with.


Mitchell Manor provided relief in the form of resources such as staffing, transportation and housing residents,” said Hignite-Owens.


The team also reviewed emergency preparedness systems to determine what resources were available, such as additional transportation, ice and water and staffing.


“Perhaps the greatest lessons were to practice emergency operations with all staff so they are prepared before an emergency occurs, the importance of working with a health care coalition in your area to identify resources and the fact that in a true emergency there will not be enough resources to go around immediately,” said Hignite-Owens. “Nursing facilities will most likely need to shelter in place immediately following a disaster.”


Hignite-Owens and Belcher were then able to take back what they learned to implement in Mitchell Manor’s preparedness plans.