Recently, a terrible tragedy reminded us how important it is for communities, public and state officials, local agencies and healthcare facilities to engage in disaster preparation and recovery planning.  The town of Lancaster experienced a devastating event that rocked the community, killing a young daughter and her father from Vermont, and leaving 50 others injured as a result.  Since this event, the community has come together to support each other with vigils for those who were lost, wishes for those who suffered, and thanks for those who responded. 

In the face of such tragic events, communities are forced to pull together, learning from the tragedy to prevent future disasters, and recover in ways that inspire hope and facilitate resilience.     We congratulate the first responders, emergency management services and hospitals for their readiness in carrying out a multi-faceted emergency action plan.  It is because of their proactive disaster planning that EMS was able to appropriately transfer patients based on the level of injury, coordinating availability of beds and capabilities of hospitals.  The communication that took place between EMS and the Emergency Management Coordinators at Weeks Medical Center, Littleton Regional Hospital, Androscoggin Valley Hospital and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center ensured immediate access for the injured, as well as support for each other as they took care of the patients and their families.  As the patients were treated and normal operations returned, EMS and hospital staff at these hospitals remained committed to restoring the calm quiet this community enjoyed just hours before.   To complete the circle, other hospitals offered their support and services to their fellow hospitals, extending the network and depth of those willing to help.  And while the work to carry this community through its recovery will continue for some time, we will remain inspired by the dedication, commitment and support to each other.

While we mourn the ones we lost and pray for those who suffered, we gratefully thank the first responders and healthcare facilities for mitigating the disaster with their quick actions, collaboration, and compassion.   

Steve Ahnen