Weather Forecast


Hospitals, public agencies simulate natural disaster for training purposes

Hospitals and public agencies from 22 counties, including Douglas County, will work together to prepare for disasters during the exercise, "Operation Gone with the Wind" June 20-21 at Camp Ripley, Little Falls.

The full-scale disaster simulates a tornado impact on the fictitious town of Twelve Oaks. The exercise includes 350 participants from more than 100 agencies and facilities throughout central and west central Minnesota.

The simulation includes an evacuation of a critical access hospital and nursing home to a neighboring facility, the implementation of an alternate medical care site using the Medical Reserve Corps, and use of the Minnesota Mobile Medical Team to assist the receiving hospital handling the influx of patients.

This exercise takes advantage of training facilities at Camp Ripley including:

Combined arms collective training facility - a brand new 26-building cinder block city that will be the site of the tornado impact.

Emergency management training facility - a state-of-the-art emergency operations center used by the county emergency management teams. This is the first large-scale exercise to use this facility.

Medical unit training facility - the troop medical center will play the role of critical access hospital receiving patients form an evacuating hospital.

Officials who will be on-site include Kris Eide, Minnesota's director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management; Brig. Gen. (retired) Joe Kelly, Homeland Security and Emergency Management; Aggie Leitheiser, assistant commissioner, Minnesota Department of Health; Mona Dohman, commissioner, Minnesota Department of Public Safety; Col. Scott St. Sauver, Camp Ripley Post Commander; congressional aides from U.S. Senator Al Franken's office and U.S. Representative Michelle Bachmann's office.

This exercise is made possible by a federal grant from the Office of Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (Department of Health and Human Services) and allocated by the Minnesota Department of Health/Office of Emergency Preparedness.