DC's plan to handle a major emergency following Las Vegas shooting

(Photo, ABC7)

Although the mass shooting on Sunday happened in Las Vegas, emergency planners in our area know that DC is still a top potential target for terrorists. And they say that possibility is something they train for throughout the year.

DC Fire says in an emergency similar to what happened in Las Vegas, a watch officer with the DC Health Department would match patients with available beds in hospitals throughout the area.

Craig DeAtley, emergency management director with MedStar Washington Hospital Center, says if the mass casualty event was large enough patients would be distributed to hospitals throughout the city and suburbs.

“EMS will bring somewhere between 20 to 30 percent of the total victim count,” said DeAtley, adding that other patients would come by taxi and by walking in: “That number could be even larger than what we’re getting by the ambulance.”

DeAtley gave ABC7 a tour of the “Ready Room,” which could be put to use in a mass casualty incident.

Inside were everything from biohazard suits to supplies that could turn the room into a supplemental Intensive Care Unit.

There were also bins with supplies that would be needed if the hospital ever had to be evacuated.

Emergency planners stress you should also be prepared for a mass casualty incident. DC Fire recommends learning basic first aid and taking a mouth-free CPR class, which is given throughout the city by the department’s “hands on hearts” teams.

MedStar Washington Hospital Center also recommends having an emergency plan for what your family would do in case of a mass casualty incident, and it posted advice on how to do that on its website: How to create an emergency plan