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Summer-Ex: Healthcare Coalition Communications Exercise for Long-term Care

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Event description
The Northwest Healthcare Response Network will host a two-part community communications exercise for long-term care facilities.

About this Event

On April 29th and June 17th, 2021, the Northwest Healthcare Response Network (the Network) is hosting Summer-Ex, a two-part exercise designed to support healthcare organizations and partner agencies during emergencies and disasters. This year's Summer-Ex will provide an opportunity for playing facilities to utilize WATrac, test their emergency communication plans and processes, try out multiple communication methodologies, as well as practice communicating and coordinating with the Network and other response partners in a community exercise.

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Exercise Dates (both are required to receive credit)

DAY 1 - April 29th, anytime between 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Components of Play

  1. Receive a WATrac alert, acknowledge the alert by signing into the WATrac system, and then updating your facility’s status. Instructions for each step can be found here.
  • This first day will help the Network establish a baseline of participation and address any technical issues before the second exercise date.
  • Exercise participation should take no longer than 30 minutes.

DAY 2 - June 17th from 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Components of Play

Exercise participants are expected to participate from your facility/place of work and be prepared to:

  1. Receive alerts from the Network (email and/or WATrac) to kick off the exercise.
  2. Repeat the steps in Day 1: acknowledge the alert in WATrac and update your facility status (see detailed instructions here).
  3. Reach out to at least two contacts listed in your emergency communications plan via two unique modes of communication. Consider utilizing phone, email, and text. If you have the capability, try testing ham radio, 800mhz radios, or satellite phone!
  4. Complete the brief post-exercise survey by no later than 1700hrs on June 18th to receive credit and have your facility listed in the regional after-action report.
  • Exercise participants should expect to utilize the full 2 hours

Exercise Objectives

  1. All playing facilities will attempt to contact at least 2 external partners listed in their communications plan
  2. All playing long-term care facilities will update their facility status on WATrac
  3. All playing facilities will use at least 2 different communication systems besides WATrac
  4. All playing facilities will complete a post-exercise survey by 1700hrs on June 18th to receive participation credit.

Registered Facilities

  1. All playing facilities will choose a designated controller/evaluator (can be the same person) who will facilitate and evaluate your organization's play. This individual(s) will receive the initial alert, observe staff in action, keep track of areas for improvement and organizational strengths, and lastly complete the post-exercise survey.
  2. All playing facilities are encouraged to develop their own objectives and associated After Action Report and Improvement Plan (AAR/IP) which summarizes how the exercise went for the specific facility. This task should be led by the facility controller/evaluator and done in collaboration with other facility staff. The AAR/IP highlights strengths and areas for improvement and identifies specific actions your facility will take to address the areas for improvement.

If your facility could use support in developing objectives or evaluating exercise play, please contact the Network Exercise Coordinator Nate Matthews-Trigg at nate.matthewstrigg@nwhrn.org.

Exercise Rules

Do not call 9-1-1, even if it is in your communications plan.

All communication messages should begin and end with “THIS IS AN EXERCISE”. [For example, when calling a partner, say "this is an exercise" before you start speaking about the exercise. When you end, repeat "this is an exercise" to remind the listener that what you had discussed was part of the exercise.]

Exercise Scenario [DAY 2]

Several large wildfires have damaged critical communications infrastructure throughout western Washington state. The wildfire is NOT threatening your facility, only interfering with communications. Cellular, email, radio, and all other forms of electronic communications may be impacted due to heavy usage, damage to towers/repeaters, and impacts to the grid. You've got 120 minutes to acknowledge the alerts, test communication systems, and contact people listed in your emergency communications plan.

*** Participation in this exercise is fully voluntary. This exercise is designed to provide an opportunity for organizations and agencies to identify and evaluate their own strengths and limitations. The Network is unable to evaluate individual participants or facilities. In addition, all information the Network obtains during exercise play will be de-identified before it is shared. ***

By registering for this event, you will receive periodic emails with additional exercise details and updates. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at info@nwhrn.org

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