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Staff and residents at Katzman Center, Leonard Florence and Brudnick Center participated in the MassMAP (Mutual Aid Plan) Drill during early October. The exercise features a state led simulation to get people thinking about what to do in an emergency. MassMAP assists healthcare partners to rapidly share information, resources and personnel when preparing for or responding to a local or regional emergency event. Over 180 facilities participated in the Massachusetts region.

“MassMAP is an extremely important program that helps protect our residents and prepare all of us for an emergency,” remarked Amalia Almeida, RN SDC at the Leonard Florence Center. “We tend to underestimate the amount of work and time it takes to execute an evacuation of the entire building. Being prepared for the unexpected gives staff and residents reassurance about their safety at a time of need!”

According to the MassMAP website, the Hospital and Long Term Care Mutual Aid Plans establish a course of action and an agreed commitment among participating hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living residences to assist each other as needed in the time of a disaster event. These exercises are invaluable in preparing for a myriad of emergencies and/or disasters. Being prepared and informed is the best way to ensure operations are run smoothly and effectively in the event of an unforeseen emergency.

This year’s scenario focused upon a storm that forced us to evacuate our residences. An incident command center was set up, which had residents participate during our mock evacuations. “Doing these drills is such an important part of keeping us safe,” explained Tammy Starion, executive director of Brudnick Center for Living. “They remind us that at any minute something can happen.  Plus, getting the staff involved can be enlightening, educational and enjoyable — all at the same time.”

“The MassMAP regional disaster drill is a great opportunity to see how prepared we are to deal with real emergency situations,” commented Jill Tura, executive director of Katzman Family Center for Living.  “These types of drills are crucial to ensure that our staff is prepared to deal with any unexpected situation. At the same time, we also had a bit of fun with it!”