Riverside Healthcare - Emergency and Disaster Preparedness
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Emergency and Disaster Preparedness Print Friendly and PDF

The Emergency Department at Riverside Medical Center has been designated by the State of Illinois as a Level II Trauma Center. We serve adults and children of all ages who have medical, surgical or traumatic emergencies.

Trauma Centers are uniquely positioned to respond to emergencies of mass scale when compared to general hospitals based on their resource availability, constant state of readiness, extra capacity and strong connections with the local and regional emergency care community.


Riverside has developed partnerships with other agencies that has resulted in the ability to rapidly expand our capacity, both on and off campus, with significant capability for triage, decontamination and emergency treatment. Riverside is the only hospital in the community that provides comprehensive neurosurgical services, including head and spine surgery as well as open heart surgery.

Dedicated Emergency Preparedness Staff

Riverside Medical Center has committed resources, staff and education to the Emergency Preparedness Program. Riverside is considered a leader in Emergency Preparedness for the Region.

Disaster Surge Response Unit

Through grant funds awarded by the Illinois Department of Public Health, Riverside has enhanced its capability for increased surge of mass casualty victims. The purchase of a Disaster/Surge Response Unit trailer in 2006 allows for rapid deployment of back-up emergency supplies and equipment during crisis. Examples of disaster supplies include portable ventilators, cots, suction machines, IV pumps, disposable blankets, sheets, pillows, pharmaceuticals, defibrillators, dressings, IV solutions, hygiene products, personal protective equipment and so forth. The organization maintains an inventory of the assets and resources needed during emergency. Riverside has been appointed as the Disaster/Surge response Unit for the region. Upon the request of another hospital in the region, this unit would be deployed by specially trained staff to offer assistance during disasters.

Olivet Nazarene University Serves as Alternate Care Site

The Trauma Center has developed mutual aid agreements with 15 other hospitals in the region to provide assistance with personnel or equipment during crisis.

Riverside has also entered into a collaborative mutual aid agreement with Olivet Nazarene University (ONU). The university has been designated as the regional Alternate Care Site in the event of a mass casualty incident in which local hospitals are overwhelmed. Victims with less serious injuries may receive initial treatment at the Alternate Care Site. Riverside has conducted a Disaster Surge exercise to test surge ability at an Alternate Care site.

Radiation Emergency Preparedness

Illinois has more nuclear power plants than any other state. Thus hospitals must be prepared to handle victims with Radiation contamination. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency has appointed Riverside as the primary hospital for treating the public in the event of a nuclear incident. Staff receive comprehensive training on radiation detection, emergency response, decontamination and treatment. FEMA provides training for the staff at Riverside and has given excellent evaluations to the hospital during Radiation drills and training.

Hazmat Operations Level Training

A Trauma Center’s capacity to decontaminate patients becomes especially important in a community close to chemical factories and storage facilities. With over 300 industries in Kankakee County that handle hazardous chemicals, Riverside provides regular Hazmat Operations Level Training to hospital staff. Our hospital provides the highest level of protection available to staff on the Hazmat Team. This includes supplied air respirators and hazmat suites. We have a dedicated hazmat shower in the ED, as well as portable showers that can be set-up in a matter of minutes for decontamination. A Hazmat Trailer was purchased in 2007, for storage of all of the hazmat equipment. Our Trauma Center has the capability of decontaminating large number of victims.

Regional Disaster Planning

Riverside Medical Center is actively involved in the Local Emergency Planning Committee. The hospital participates in a county-wide full scale disaster exercise on an annual basis in collaboration with essential response partners in the community. The hospital is also involved in Regional Disaster planning, education and exercises. We have mutual aid agreements in place with other hospitals and agencies to provide equipment and personnel if requested during disaster.

Educational Opportunities for Staff

The Emergency Preparedness Program provides extensive educational opportunities for staff in order to provide prompt and efficient response to all types of emergencies. We have developed back-up communications systems in the event of crisis. Emergency back-up power systems are also in place. Riverside has a sophisticated security system with the ability to lock down the entire hospital and secure the perimeter within minutes.

We have excellent intra-hospital communications capabilities (web based, satellite phone, radios, etc.) that link us with other hospitals and the state. The facility has optimal electronic systems that assist us in providing the best care possible, including electronic medical records.

Courses provided for our professional staff include:

For more information about our emergency preparedness procedures, please contact Sherry Mayes at 815.933.1671 extension 7822.