Friendship Health and Rehab Center South (FHRC South), a local leader in health care and rehabilitation, has been named an Outstanding Organization by the Near Southwest Preparedness Alliance (NSPA) for its participation and performance in a recent simulated flooding exercise. FHRC South served as the disaster struck facility as part of the drill organized by NSPA. The scenario utilized was a flooding event where a full evacuation of residents needed to occur. FHRC South found 34 facilities who agreed to accept residents from their facility. Collectively, the disaster struck facility and receiving facility identified 131 vehicle seats, 32 wheelchair seats, and thirteen ambulances to assist with transportation. This does not include Friendship’s own resources.
“It was a challenging exercise and was a great opportunity to test our policies and make sure they were applicable in real-life situations,” said Friendship Executive Director of Healthcare Services Brandon Evans. “In our particular exercise, we were a discharging facility that was experiencing flooding and so we were on the phones constantly, working out challenges, checking transportation methods and routes with partner agencies, and much more. The alliance brought so much to the training and it was a huge benefit to have their support, planning, critical thinking. To be selected as an outstanding organization is amazing, considering what they do, and for Friendship being recognized as part of what they are doing is extremely humbling.”
The Alliance was created through a hospital preparedness program in 2001 after September 11, 2001, as the need for more preparedness and disaster response became apparent. There are currently six coalitions in Virginia and the alliance in Roanoke includes 16 surrounding counties.
“In the midst of a pandemic and busy time in general, FHRC South took time to do a voluntary exercise which says a lot about their community partnership and genuine concern for not only their residents but everyone in the Roanoke Valley,” said NSPA Executive Director Robert Hawkins. “It was a huge win for all involved, as we gained a lot of insight from those conversations and learnings that helped us improve our processes and communications.”
Maeve Nesbit, assistant director of therapy services at FRHC South, nominated Friendship for the award.
“As a company we were eager to participate in this drill to ensure that our emergency preparedness plan would be as successful as possible during a real emergency,” said Nesbit. “This exercise allowed us to better understand our plan and what changes were needed to make sure that all of our residents would be safe. It has brought us reassurance, peace of mind and confidence in our plans and our team’s capabilities.”
Hawkins stated exercises take place through the calendar year and they are always hopeful more will be involved. “The more participation and the more we learn together, the better off we’ll be if/when an emergency situation arises.”