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Mayo Conducts Evacuation Drill

Created: 07/16/2014 7:10 PM KAALtv.com

(ABC 6 News) -- For the first time Wednesday, Mayo Clinic conducted an evacuation drill of an entire building. Nearly 2,000 employees were evacuated from the Hilton Building on Mayo Clinic’s campus.

“It could be a fire, it could be a natural disaster, it could be a human causal factor. It’s good for us to see how our emergency services stand up in those kinds of situations and how effectively we work together,” said Lt. Scott Davis.

For two years, Mayo Clinic has been working with Rochester police and fire departments to conduct the drill.

“Part of the reason is just in case something was to happen inside this building. How do we deal with 2,000 plus employees and patients evacuating? How long does it take, where do they go?” Davis said.

Through the use of simulation software, organizers have planned specific routes for each floor, with designated meeting places.

“There was a significant amount of planning that went into this event. It has involved many areas of the Mayo Clinic including the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, as well as facilities, security and emergency management,” said Dr. Melissa Snyder.

The drill was helpful for Mayo Clinic, along with local police and fire departments, to determine emergency preparedness.

“Understand what processes work within the evacuation, what areas need improvement and then take the information and apply it, not only to the Hilton building, but to other high-rise buildings down town,” said Snyder.

The drill blocked off 2nd Avenue SW for a few hours this morning. At this time, there is no drill scheduled in the future. Organizers said they will use today to determine what worked well and what changes need to be made.

“We think that all of us coming together will allow us to make the high-rise buildings safer, not only for our patients but, for our staff,” said Snyder.