‘What you can control is how you respond,’ York Hospital prepared for disaster

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YORK, Pa.-- The saying goes "practice makes perfect." WellSpan York Hospital does it's share of practice to try and become perfect.

"They say in disaster medicine and emergency preparedness, 99% of it is how you prepare and your preparedness," WellSpan York Hospital Medical Director for Disaster Preparedness and Response Dr. Bryan Wexler said.

He said the hospital is constantly working to improve themselves for emergency situations.

"There is nothing controlled necessarily about the initial phase of a disaster or an emergency," Dr. Wexler said. "What you can control is how you respond to it and you and also respond to how you prepare for it."

Hospital officials said preparation for the hospital includes classes, training, and active simulations.

"We learn from that," Operations Director for Emergency Management Chris Krichten said. "There's always something we can do better, and then we train on that afterward."

Some of the situations they train for are mass shootings, natural disasters, and chemical situations. The training involves not only the hospital, but sometimes other agencies like the police, E.M.S., and fire crews.

"If there was ever, heaven forbid, an event in our community, it's going to require the resources of not just the hospital but our community partners," Dr. Wexler said.

He said communication is key, and preparation helps to make sure everything goes smooth in a high-stress situation.

"The team work is crucial," Dr. Wexler said. "Communication is one of the first things that actually breaks down in any kind of stressful environment."

When we asked if they could handle a situation like Orlando, they said yes.

"As a trauma center, we are prepared for whatever happens in the community 24/7," Medical Director of Trauma Dr. Daniel Carney said.

The hospital said they also provide services beyond just the initial event. They provide crisis intervention and psychological and spiritual assistance to help get people on a path to normalcy.