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St. James Named "Top Strength" in Earthquake Exercise

December 17, 2009
St. James Healthcare has been named one of the top three “strengths” of the September 2009, Montana Vigilant Guard 09 earthquake readiness exercise sponsored by the Montana Department of Disaster and Emergency Services, the Montana National Guard, and FEMA. St. James Healthcare’s role was to receive and treat “injured” individuals from Helena, which was the earthquake epicenter in the exercise. The “injured” people, transported via National Guard Black Hawk helicopters, were treated and released at St. James Healthcare. As part of a multi-jurisdictional Full-Scale Exercise conducted in several locations throughout Lewis and Clark, Jefferson, Broadwater, and Butte-Silver Bow Counties, the purpose of the exercise was to test response and continuity plans, interoperable communications, command and control functions, National Incident Management System (NIMS) compliance, and unified command and emergency operations processes. “We were pleased to learn that our performance in this exercise was rated so well,” said St. James Healthcare CEO, Chuck Wright. “Jennifer Phillips, our Disaster Emergency Coordinator, and all our employees did an outstanding job of following our established protocol for just such an emergency.” St. James Healthcare continuously collaborates with the Butte-Silver Bow Disaster and Emergency Services Department to enhance shared skills and capabilities. St. James Healthcare regularly performs joint tabletop exercises to test all its disaster procedures, but an exercise of this magnitude is an invaluable tool for testing and enhancing existing procedures.