OU Medicine News

OU Medicine and Oklahoma Army National Guard Join Forces for Disaster Training 

OKLAHOMA CITY – OU Medicine and the Oklahoma Army National Guard joined forces Thursday for disaster preparedness training involving a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter and soldiers and volunteers acting as patients needing medical care in various states of injury following a mock catastrophe. 

The drill was part of the annual “Earth Wind and Fire” exercise that tests the emergency operations of state and local emergency management agencies during a major disaster. During the drill, teams from worked through training involving the scenario of a motor vehicle collision and rollover accident. 

During the exercise, OU Medical Center and the Oklahoma Army National Guard medical evacuation teams practiced transporting and receiving patients from the motor-vehicle scenario event. Part of the training involved moving “patients” from the Black Hawk helicopters to the helipad and then into the hospital while the helicopter rotors were still in motion – known as “hot offloading.” 

Detachment 1, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 169th Aviation Regiment, 90th Troop Command is the Oklahoma Army National Guard MEDEVAC crew drilled with the team at OU Medical Center. The MEDEVAC crew can be called into action in the case of mass casualty events from natural disasters and beyond and has been deployed overseas.  

“For us, we are building a companionship with OU Medical Center’s trauma center because if a natural disaster does happen in the state, we want to be prepared to help out as best we can,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher Bowling, flight medic. “The time when we would be called in is when civilian agencies are overwhelmed. Our medics are more commonly affiliated with trauma-type events, and these are what we have practiced for and are prepared. We want the community to know that we are a part of the community and we are here to help.”

While Black Hawks landed at OU Medical Center’s helipad, mock disaster scenarios involving flooding and ice emergencies were also practiced at The Children’s Hospital and OU Medical Center Edmond in an effort to intentionally stress the system and ensure teams across the OU Medicine enterprise are prepared in the event of a large-scale disaster in the state.  

“As the state’s only Level I trauma center, we are always ready to provide care when Oklahomans need us most, but we also know it is important to refine our skills through training so we maintain our readiness posture,” said Rowdy Anthony, associate vice president for emergency services at OU Medical Center. “We work tirelessly to be prepared for the unexpected so we’re ready to answer the call and work with our federal, state and local partners to provide care in the event of a disaster.” 

The training lasted around one hour and involved three mock trauma patients at OU Medical Center as well as nearly 40 mock patients across all three hospitals.  

OU MEDICINE

OU Medicine – along with its academic partner, the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center – is the state’s only comprehensive academic health system of hospitals, clinics and centers of excellence. With 11,000 employees and more than 1,300 physicians and advanced practice providers, OU Medicine is home to Oklahoma’s largest physician network with a complete range of specialty care. OU Medicine serves Oklahoma and surrounding states with the state’s only freestanding children’s hospital, the only National Cancer Institute -Designated Cancer Center and Oklahoma’s flagship hospital, which serves as the state’s only Level 1 trauma center. OU Medicine’s mission is to lead healthcare in patient care, education and research. To learn more, visit oumedicine.com.