Officials from Pitkin County Public and Environmental health, the medical community and several volunteers spent the day Monday making sure a medical surge trailer is ready for action should a pandemic or other public health emergency occur in our community.
A large RV-type trailer filled with medical supplies has been located in Pitkin County since about 2001. The trailer is designed to establish an alternate care site for non-critical patients in the event that our hospital is overwhelmed with more critical patients during a serious infectious disease incident.
“While these types of incidents are unlikely, we are charged with planning for things like a pandemic flu that could quickly overwhelm our hospital if scores of people got sick at the same time,” said Public Health Director, Liz Stark.
The trailer is filled with everything from cots, blankets, pillows, and bed pans to respiratory masks, stethoscopes, tourniquets and oxygen masks. This week’s exercise included conducting a complete inventory of supplies, replacing anything out-of-date, and determining the need for additional supplies.
According to Stark, the trailer is now organized in such a way that anyone could set up the equipment. It also has an updated inventory that will be managed by public health and medical partners on a periodic basis. The next step in planning for this kind of disaster is to identify the most appropriate location in our community where this equipment can be set up and used as an alternate care site.
“The trailer has the capacity to provide basic care for up to 100 people if needed,” said Stark. “In the instance of pandemic flu, for example, this could provide relief to the hospital which must care for patients who are critically ill. The trailer could be used for less critical patients who need a lower level of care and can’t be cared for at home.”.
In the 15 years that the trailer has been parked in the community it has not ever been used.
“It’s nice to know it’s there and equipped to do what it’s intended to do and that we’re one step closer in our planning for the worst possible scenario.” Stark said.
Contact: Liz Stark 970-920-5010
Photo: Surge Trailer with staff from Pitkin County Public and Environmental health, the medical community and several volunteers.