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Around Johns Hopkins: Preparing for Emergencies at Suburban Hospital
Cindy Notobartolo (left), Suburban Hospital's
A hospital’s emergency management team is the team you call in a crisis. When there is not an issue, the team is preparing for one by holding exercises and trainings. In upcoming issues of Hopkins on Alert, CEPAR will highlight an emergency manager and/or team at member organizations within the Johns Hopkins enterprise.
This issue, CEPAR spotlights Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, where Cindy Notobartolo, administrative director of emergency department/trauma, safety and security services, and Donna Sasenick, manager of safety and emergency management, have been leading the emergency management team together for more than a decade. Both come from emergency medicine nursing backgrounds. Notobartolo has been with Suburban for 24 years, and Sasenick has been with Suburban for 15 years. They wear numerous hats through their roles, but response and planning for emergencies are daily aspects of their jobs.
Notobartolo and Sasenick recently responded to questions from CEPAR.
Q: What are some of the unique emergency preparedness challenges Suburban Hospital faces, particularly when compared with other hospitals in the Johns Hopkins Health System? How are you working to overcome these challenges?
Q: How do you plan emergency preparedness drills at Suburban?
Q: What is one of the more recent exercises you have planned?
Q: What are some of the projects that you have worked on or are working on at Suburban Hospital of which you are most proud?
A: Our team has led the Stop the Bleed initiative at Suburban Hospital since September 2016. Stop the Bleed is an awareness campaign and a call to action launched by the White House in October 2015 that encourages bystanders to become trained, equipped and empowered to help control bleeding before professional medical help arrives. Since its inception at Suburban, our trauma staff members have held more than 20 Stop the Bleed training sessions. Suburban’s program has also had contact with more than 400 people in the community in addition to hospital employees.
Another major project began in February 2004, when our team helped establish Suburban Hospital as a founding member of the Bethesda Hospitals’ Emergency Preparedness Partnership (BHEPP), a joint effort that continues today. The partnership created the first emergency response collaboration of the Department of Defense and federal and private health care facilities in the U.S. The partnership currently includes Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, National Library of Medicine and Suburban Hospital. The principal goals of the collaboration are to integrate and leverage our complementary resources to provide an immediate and sustained response to any local, regional or national emergency and to develop a transportable, proven model for defining best practices in casualty care management and mutual aid through ongoing multiagency collaboration and training.One of the first initiatives implemented by the BHEPP was the Collaborative Multi-Agency Exercise (CMAX), a health care coalition that has since expanded to include other regional partners. Through CMAX, collaborators share resources associated with an established patient decontamination program as well as other equipment and supplies in case of a real-world emergency event. In the past, CMAX has held yearly large-scale mass casualty exercises — some with up to 600 participants — in order to practice communications, coordination and resource sharing.
The BHEPP is also a member of the Maryland Region V Emergency Preparedness Coalition, which includes 14 acute care hospitals, public health facilities and others, and plays a critical role in health care delivery system preparedness and response in the Washington, D.C., area. Together, the BHEPP and the Region V Emergency Preparedness Coalition provide a strong mechanism for our community to be able to respond rapidly to any emergency situation.