Y2K: Hospital Drill ‘Smooth But Not Perfect’
About 400 of California's 500 hospitals teamed up with state emergency response agencies yesterday in a Y2K drill that gave providers a better sense of how their preparedness stands up to the expected demands of New Year's Eve. The biggest problem faced in a series of mock crises: A statewide computer system failure, preventing the display of bed availability in a five-county area stretching from San Luis Obispo to Orange County (Warren, Los Angeles Times, 9/17). State and local emergency officials responded by working off of hard copies of bed availability data. Other staged disasters included the following:
- Providing care in 11 counties for 200 revelers "injured" when the roof of the Sacramento Convention Center collapsed.
- Operating on backup generators and equipment to surmount a mock computer shutdown and simulated power outage.
- Relying on cell phones, pay phones and ham radio operators to overcome a communications collapse triggered by a loss of phone and fax function ( AP/Contra Costa Times, 9/17).
- Addressing an influx of ER patients, including feigned gunshot victims and psychotics proclaiming the end of the world.