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The Hospital Emergency Response Team (H.E.R.T) - Always on Stand-by


How well a community responds when disaster strikes depends heavily on how well it has prepared in advance. That’s why Frederick Regional Health System created H.E.R.T., the Hospital Emergency Response Team.

The Hospital Emergency Response Team (H.E.R.T.) is Frederick Memorial Hospital’s effort to prepare for disasters before they occur. Its members represent every department in the hospital, all of whom are specially trained to handle emergencies. H.E.R.T. is poised and ready to respond at a moment’s notice to situations that involve human contamination from chemicals, radiation, or biological agents, weather-related or man-made mass casualty incidents, the need to evacuate the hospital, a transfer to other care sites, a mass communications failure or some other public health emergency.

Although H.E.R.T. primarily exists to respond to emergency situations, they also mobilize on behalf of the hospital family and the community at large for far less dramatic reasons. Last year, H.E.R.T. staged a Drive-Thru Flu Shot clinic for hospital employees and volunteers. In addition to providing a valuable service, the Drive-Thru Flu Clinic provided H.E.R.T. with helpful information regarding how quickly they could inoculate a large group of people in the event of a public health emergency.

The FMH H.E.R.T. also assists at the annual Frederick Running Festival. Now in its 15th year, this popular event is held the first full weekend in May at the Frederick Fairgrounds. The festival hosts thousands of local and visiting runners who participate in seven events and a health and fitness expo over two a two-day period. Members of Frederick Memorial’s H.E.R.T. help staff the health tent, providing much-needed volunteer support for this community event.

According to FMH Community Response Coordinator Mike Kane, H.E.R.T. team members receive training in managing hazardous materials, patient triage, stair chair evacuation, securing and maintaining equipment, and what to do in the event of an ‘active shooter’ threat. “All hospital employees are proficient in the use of fire extinguishers and personal protective equipment, such as that which would be required to deal safely with chemical or biological agents, highly contagious viruses, and other pathogens,” he adds.

“Our Hospital Emergency Response Team works closely with local government and other agencies to prepare for our response to emergencies and disasters. FMH is a vital part of our community’s infrastructure, and ensuring that we are well prepared to provide the care our residents require in times of need is one of our priorities.” – Phil Giuliano, Team Leader, Hospital Emergency Response Team