• Last modified 3223 days ago (Aug. 19, 2010)


Is county prepared for disasters?

Friday night was a good test of how prepared Marion County emergency personnel are in a disaster.

Training is great but nothing is a substitute for the real thing.

We listened to the coverage of Friday night’s events at Marion Reservoir over the county’s radio dispatch system.

Many things seemed to have been done right. Dispatchers sent EMS and fire personnel. Law enforcement responded.

A lot of people responded, wanting to assist.

With storms in the area, an air ambulance couldn’t fly in to transport patients to other hospitals. Power outages limited the amount of patients local hospitals could treat.

How frustrating that must have been for medical personnel who wanted to help the injured but without access to diagnostic equipment, the injured had to be diverted to other facilities. Luckily, roads were open and ambulances could travel.

With improvements planned at St. Luke Hospital in Marion and a new facility on the horizon in Hillsboro, we hope special consideration is given to maybe bigger and better generators.

Both hospitals have generators but typically can only do so much. X-ray machines, scanners, and other equipment needed to determine the extent of injuries these people suffered could not be accessed on the auxiliary power.

Most disasters are weather-related — floods, tornadoes, and ice and snowstorms. Weather may cause electrical outages and roads to be blocked, so access to local hospitals becomes even more important.

The point of disaster preparedness is to be prepared. Emergency personnel responded the best they could. The hospitals were prepared but were limited until electrical power resumed.

Marion County should be proud of how they responded and should always strive to improve.

— susan berg

Last modified Aug. 19, 2010