Knox Co. Health Dept. helps coordinate mass casualty emergency drill

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Knox County Health Department helped coordinate one of the largest hospital exercises ever conducted in East Tennessee.

It tested how hospitals, health departments and first responders would be able to handle a mass casualty like a bombing.

About 1,000 victim actors with all sorts of injuries showed up at hospitals across East Tennessee during the drill, which tested how well hospitals could handle a sudden surge in patients and communications between the various health organizations and first responders involved.

Organizers said the exercise will help make sure things go as smoothly as possible if a mass casualty ever happens in East Tennessee.

"We're doing this for everyone that we serve. You know, we could have the best policies and procedures and plans in place, but until we practice them, we're not going to know if everything is how it should be in those plans," said Katharine Killen, with the Knox County Health Department.

Killen said organizers will do an extensive review of the exercise and if any changes need to be made, they'll create an improvement plan.

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