A National Guard helicopter that was part of the community-wide drill

By Gayle Steffen, admissions and marketing director


Valley View Villa in Fort Morgan, Colorado, recently survived an F3 tornado… at least a drill for one.


The Colorado and Wyoming National Guard simulated a community disaster drill in Fort Morgan on April 3, 2018. Valley View Villa, along with area schools, hospitals and businesses participated in the disaster drill. Valley View simulated losing all telephone and internet services, running on our generator for the day.


A code black was called at 8:45 a.m., prompting the staff to transfer all of the residents into the halls for safety. Communication was lost soon after, and with two-way radios in hand we coordinated care with our local hospital, fire and ambulance services.


A few of the residents volunteered to be casualties and were triaged and treated by our in-house physician, Dr. Shaun Thompson, and our management nursing team. We even simulated a code blue so the nursing staff could get some practice while we were at it. Needless to say, the patients survived and had a fun time acting as our patients. One even got a gold star on her door for Best Actress in her role.


The next day, the National Guard flew and landed helicopters right behind our building as they brought in troops and dignitaries to assess the “damage” and assist the community. Our staff and residents were excited to witness such a scene in rural Colorado where we don’t get to see those things often. They guarded our building during the day and performed a transfer evacuation of some patients, who went out and got ice cream for their “injuries.”


All in all, the simulation went very well, and the city and county, along with the state, were very pleased with the results. We realized how helpful it was for our staff and how it will help us be ready for any real disaster we could encounter.