Concord, NH - The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is leading an effort to increase hospital ventilator capacity in the State. As part of this effort, 80 additional ventilators are being given to all the participating hospitals in New Hampshire and healthcare workers will receive training on how to use them. This is Phase II of a three-phase plan to roll out this equipment.
The New Hampshire Critical Care and Supplemental Oxygen Program (CCSOP) is working to strengthen response to a catastrophic mass casualty event by deploying 125 ventilators, the machines that breathe for someone who is in respiratory distress, to hospitals around the State and qualified EMS regions and providers. Training and exercises will be provided for medical personnel on how and when to deploy this equipment to help respond to a disaster, such as a chemical event, plane crash, or terror attack.
“This is a key element in our plan to be prepared for an emergency with a large health component,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “Most disasters have a public health piece but the ones that keep planners up at night require a great deal of medical care for many victims. This equipment will go a long way toward making New Hampshire able to respond to something of this magnitude.”
The recent deployment of the additional ventilators follows Phase I in 2008 which was a pilot program that sent 8 ventilators to 4 of the State’s 26 acute care hospitals. The roll out of these 80 additional ventilators and supplies will give added capacity to 21 of the hospitals covering all 5 Emergency Medical System regions of the State.
“The hospitals are encouraged to use the equipment as part of their normal operations to maintain user knowledge and to allow DHHS to gather data on their use and any problems that may arise to help be better prepared,” said Montero. “We all like to think it can’t happen here, but let’s face it, sometimes it does and we need to be ready.”
The Department of Homeland Security provided funding for this project as part of a national priority.