Michigan Conducts Preparedness Exercise at Ferris State University

Contact: Angela Minicuci (517) 241-2112

For Immediate Release: May 21, 2014

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) is working with eight Regional Healthcare Coalitions to conduct an exercise utilizing the Michigan Transportable Emergency Surge Assistance Medical Unit (MI-TESA) during a tornado exercise at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich. on May 20 and 21. MI-TESA is a statewide mobile medical resource that is managed by the Office of Public Health Preparedness (OPHP) within MDCH to support hospitals during an emergency event or natural disaster.

The exercise scenario is based on an actual event from 1974 when an F-3 tornado went through Big Rapids damaging the downtown area. The first part of the exercise involves Spectrum Hospital-Big Rapids, which will act as though their facility is partially destroyed by a tornado that strikes the town. The MI-TESA will then be deployed to help support the hospital and provide medical care to those affected. The second part of the exercise is designed to train Mobile Medical Field Teams to function within the MI-TESA should a deployment occur. Two 40 bed medical units will be set up for this training.

“Medical facilities must be available and functioning at all times, but it is particularly important following a disaster or an emergency,” said James K. Haveman, director of MDCH. “MI-TESA provides vital medical care to citizens and assistance to any hospital in Michigan that could find itself dealing with the effects of a disaster.”

The mobile medical unit consists of two sections, one 40 bed unit that is housed in southwest Michigan and a 100 bed unit that is housed in southeast Michigan. The mobile unit is capable of providing a number of medical necessities such as triage, treatment, isolation, and surgical procedures. Transporting, assembling, operating, deactivating, disassembling, and recovering the MI-TESA is a complex and manpower intensive initiative. Exercises such as these are key to ensuring MI-TESA is ready to function in the event of a real emergency.

Oversight of the MI-TESA program is provided by MDCH OPHP. Additionally, all requests for deployment and usage must be authorized by MDCH OPHP. The MI-TESA Medical Units are completely federally funded by the Department of Health and Human Services.

For more information about Michigan’s preparedness activities, including the MI-TESA, visit www.michigan.gov/ophp.

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