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Louisiana Tech To Conduct Disaster Drill With Local Public Health, Safety Agencies

Louisiana Tech University's Division of Nursing, Counseling Center and Police Department along with the Ruston Fire Department, Ruston Police Department, Northern Louisiana Medical Center and Green Clinic Surgical Hospital will join together to conduct a disaster drill on Thursday, April 17 at Hutchinson residential hall on the Louisiana Tech campus.
RUSTON, La. - Louisiana Tech University's Division of Nursing, Counseling Center and Police Department along with the Ruston Fire Department, Ruston Police Department, Northern Louisiana Medical Center and Green Clinic Surgical Hospital will join together to conduct a disaster drill on Thursday, April 17 at Hutchinson residential hall on the Louisiana Tech campus.

The drill will be used to test several key response elements for each organization and department.  For students, it will provide a real life experience of how emergency responders handle certain situations while Louisiana Tech's administration will see, firsthand, specific issues they may have to address during a campus crisis.  Community law enforcement, firefighters and paramedics will also be tested and challenged during these drills.  In addition, local hospitals and clinics will be challenged with handling the aftermath of actual and potential patients.

Following the drill, each of the participating organizations will seek to identify areas for improvement and how to better prepare for and respond to an actual disaster.
"The collaborative disaster drill is an opportunity to participate in community-wide service learning for the purpose of assessing the preparedness level of local and regional entities whose services are critical in times of a disaster," said Carol Owens, associate professor of nursing at Louisiana Tech.  "This exercise also allows our nursing students the opportunity to 'live' a simulated disaster in order to be prepared to respond effectively should a community disaster occur, as well as the opportunity to better understand the experience from a victim's perspective."

Owens said that Louisiana Tech and the area's public safety agencies have been involved in at least one disaster drill per year, for the past several years.  They are always a learning experience for not only the nursing students, but also for the campus and community entities involved.

"Students in schools in small and rural communities account for almost 23 percent of all students across the nation," said Eric Brazzel, public education officer for the Ruston Fire Department.  "Schools, law enforcement and other emergency responders are often limited in resources, so it is imperative that all potentially affected parties collaborate on planning, preparing, communicating, responding, and recovering from a school-based incident.  The City of Ruston and Louisiana Tech University will continue to be proactive in its preparation to handle many different incidents."

For more information on the drill, contact Owens in Louisiana Tech's Division of Nursing at (318) 257-3105 or cowens@latech.edu.
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