Locations of the Nebraska health care providers who participated in the NSRI virtual exercise for a mass casualty burn event.
The National Strategic Research Institute (NSRI) at the University of Nebraska recently concluded a series of five virtual mass casualty preparedness exercises for the Nebraska Healthcare Coalitions.
The scenario-based exercises focused on communication, coordination and treatment protocols for a mass casualty event that resulted in many burn victims. In total, the virtual exercises brought together more than 325 health care professionals from across Nebraska this spring.
“These exercises are important not only for situational awareness, but also provide an opportunity for responders to assess and review current disaster plans, identify gaps in care patterns and address these gaps through improvement processes.” — Judy Placek, nurse practitioner in plastic and burn surgery at Nebraska Medicine and hospital facilitator for the exercises
“These exercises are important not only for situational awareness, but also provide an opportunity for responders to assess and review current disaster plans, identify gaps in care patterns and address these gaps through improvement processes," said Judy Placek, nurse practitioner in plastic and burn surgery at Nebraska Medicine and hospital facilitator for the exercises. “Improving our preparedness and ability to respond will not only reduce redundancy and wasting of limited resources, but most importantly save the lives of those impacted by burn injury across Nebraska."
The objective of the exercises was to test each coalition’s burn annex plan, which is a requirement for the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP). The exercises also achieved requirements for Nebraska Medicine’s $3 million Regional 7 Disaster Health Response Ecosystem Grant from ASPR.
Throughout the five days of the event, participants worked with the healthcare coalitions through a mass burn casualty scenario by breaking into functional groups to work through discussion questions and activities. The results of their actions are being compiled to create an action plan with innovative approaches to fill gaps.
“These types of events are essential for our state and for solidifying our communities together.”— Michelle Hill, emergency preparedness coordinator, Panhandle Public Health District, Scottsbluff, Neb.
“These types of events are essential for our state and for solidifying our communities together,”said Michelle Hill, emergency preparedness coordinator for the Panhandle Public Health District located in Scottsbluff, Neb. “We brought new partners, like our long-term care facilities, together with our hospitals, EMTs and law enforcement.
“I think now, coming out of COVID, we are all more creative and confident of what we can do to help each other and what we can take on as individual entities. We really saw that in what people were bringing forward throughout this exercise — a lot of creative thinking for the improvements we can make.”
Virtual events such as these are a new program offering from NSRI Field Operations and Training, which designs and executes real-world, multi-disciplinary scenarios for responding to and preventing chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, explosive (CBRNe) weapon incidents.
NSRI's team of experienced CBRNe experts can design almost any program around specific mission requirements and objectives to custom-fit training needs for government agencies, law enforcement, public health personnel and first responders.
“Nebraskans should be proud of their healthcare community for preparing to get patients the specialized care they need as swiftly as possible.” — Paul Brantmier, NSRI program manager
"Nebraskans should be proud of their healthcare community for preparing to get patients the specialized care they need as swiftly as possible," said Paul Brantmier, NSRI program manager. “I just appreciated the opportunity to work with everyone in this way. I am always inspired by the teamwork I see from Nebraska.
“I’m also pleased with how the participants engaged in this event. Using breakout rooms and an integrated web-service forum, we were able to capture the spoken and typed inputs of participants, something that probably is not occurring in most physical events.”
Learn more about NSRI training at nsri.nebraska.edu/training.
About the National Strategic Research Institute
Through the National Strategic Research Institute at the University of Nebraska leading scientists deliver innovative national security research, technology, product and strategy development, training and exercises, and subject matter expertise to the Department of Defense and other federal agencies. One of only 14 DOD-designated University Affiliated Research Centers in the country, NSRI is sponsored by U.S. Strategic Command and works to ensure the United States’ safety and preparedness against increasingly sophisticated threats. Read about our mission.