SUPERIOR, Nebraska (STPNS) -- Brodstone Memorial Hospital is participating in a statewide plan to prepare disaster forces to move the hospital's patients to another site for care should the need arise.

Today (Thursday) Brodstone Memorial Hospital will become the second of four hospitals in Nebraska to exercise the use of the Hospital POD. The POD consists of basic supplies and equipment, such as beds, linens, personal hygiene items, gloves, blood pressure cuffs, stethoscopes and other supplies needed to set up a temporary patient care site. The POD, which is stored and transported to sites in a trailer, can be used to either help expand care capabilities within the hospital or establish a temporary care site in another building, such as a high school gymnasium. Use of an alternate care site, such as a gymnasium, may be required if the hospital is overcrowded or is structurally damaged.

"Brodstone Memorial Hospital is active in disaster preparedness," said Terry Kermoade, exercise director and director of pharmacy services at the hospital. "It is important that our staff is well trained to care for our patients in a disaster situation, whether it is a man-made, natural or biological. By exercising our plan, our staff has the opportunity to see what parts of the plan work well, what parts do not work well and determine how we can improve and better prepare."

Today's exercise, in which Brodstone will set up an alternate care site at the North Ward Activity Room, will allow not only the hospital to be better prepared but will help hospitals across the state improve their own planning processes through the opportunity to listen to lessons learned in Superior.

Funding for the hospital PODS and for the creation of an alternate care site plan template was provided through a federal grant obtained by Rural Nebraska Medical Response System Partnership, a partnership of more than 65 hospitals, health departments, emergency managers and federally qualified health centers located in 72 counties throughout Nebraska. The project, which involved four rural medical response systems, including the Tri Cities Medical Response System serving Nuckolls County, was awarded $868,434.00 for preparedness activities. Alternate care site preparedness is only one of several grant goals.

Laura Meyers, Rural Nebraska Medical Response System Partnership coordinator, said "We thank Brodstone Memorial Hospital for being proactive in their preparedness efforts. Exercising a plan takes a great deal of time, manpower and preparation but the lessons learned from the exercise will be invaluable."