"Pop-up" hospital in Pennsylvania ready for emergencies

Emergency Management Alert, March 10, 2009

In the event of a large-scale emergency, volunteers could have a mobile hospital running anywhere in southeastern Pennsylvania within two to four hours of the first alert, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Members of the South Eastern Pennsylvania Specialized Medical Response Team recently showed off the three tan and white tents, and all its equipment, setting up the mobile facility at The Valley Forge Convention Center, the newspaper reported. The $1 million cost of the mobile unit was paid by state and federal governments, and includes a portable generator, 50 cots, 130 ventilators, 26 wireless cardiac monitors, and 27 patient carts loaded with equipment. The rapid-response team is intended to fill the gap before federal emergency help arrives after a disaster, the Inquirer reported. Southeastern Pennsylvania is among the first regions to assemble what is essentially a peacetime MASH unit.

The team got its first call last month when a plane crash-landed in the Hudson River, but the alarm was canceled when the passengers were quickly rescued. While the team has enough volunteers to set up the hospital, it hopes to recruit more medical personnel to handle a full emergency. Besides on-site deployment during disasters, the three tents could also be set up outside a hospital to handle the surge of patients from an event.

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