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– Wesley Medical Center, an acute care hospital providing a full range of diagnostic and treatment services for patients throughout Kansas and northern Oklahoma, announces a National Disaster Medical System training May 16 – 20. Wesley’s training exercise is part of a National Disaster Medical Systems (NDMS) exercise in FEMA’s region 7 that includes the states of Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa.

“Wesley will be conducting several simulations throughout the Medical Center to exercise and educate staff on our role in the National Disaster Medical System response. The scenario is Earthquake affecting the New Madrid Fault line in Missouri,” stated Diana Lippoldt Wesley Trauma Director.

The Missouri city of New Madrid sits on a large fault line where between December 1811 and February 1812 several major earthquakes occurred. The smallest was estimated to be 8.1, the largest at between 8.3 to 8.8 in magnitude. In comparison, California’s 1994 devastating earthquakes had a smaller magnitude of 6.7. FEMA concluded in a recent study that should another earthquake of these magnitudes occur again, 715,000 buildings would be damaged in an eight-state region, forty-two thousand search and rescue personnel in fifteen hundred teams would be needed in the first twenty-four hours, thirty-five hundred damaged or destroyed bridges would be in the eight-state effected area, one hundred thirty hospitals would be damaged and unusable, and eighty-six thousand initial injuries and fatalities would occur.

Wichita, Oklahoma City and Tulsa will be major staging points for relief efforts and supplies for a New Madrid disaster zone. The forty-two thousand search and rescue personnel that are needed in the first twenty-four hours have to come from areas close to the damage zone. Wichita can expect large requests for local public safety and National Guard personnel to go into the area.

“These types of exercises, allow us to test our current planning and make changes based on the knowledge that we attain, thus reducing the amount of time it would take us to gear up in the event of a real event. It is our desire to stress our system enough to find the weaknesses. From this we can revise our plans and try it again. Every time we participate, we learn so much that will help us be better prepared in the future.”

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