WAUWATOSA, Wis. — More than 45,000 people are expected in Milwaukee for the Republican National Convention next year, according to Visit Milwaukee.
Major hospitals across the state — including Froedtert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin — are beginning to prepare for the influx of possible patients.
Jason Liu is a professor of emergency medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He said since Froedtert Hospital is the level 1 trauma center for both adults and pediatrics in the region, it’s important to be prepared for anything.
“We regularly have to do training and education about being prepared for disasters and special incidents,” said Liu. “This coming year as we prepare for the convention, we are increasing the amount of education and exercise that we’re doing over the next year.”
He said it’s all hands on deck when it comes to drills.
“We’re practicing for various scenarios for the convention,” said Liu. “For stuff like the large influx of people, you can have all sorts of medical issues. How do you handle high profile people that are going to be a part of this convention? How do we handle that in [terms] of being a patient? The traffic that effects how [we are] going to get supplies with all the crowding on the roadways.”
Liu said Froedtert is also working with other local hospitals and first responders.
“We will be increasing staffing,” said Liu. “We will have special plans. We’re working with public health and our partners in police, fire and EMS also to be coordinating and have extra resources available in case something were to happen.”
Liu works alongside Lisa Hass-Peters. She is the emergency preparedness coordinator for the hospital.
Hass-Peters said the hospital will use some of the plans in place from the 2020 Democratic National Convention. That convention was supposed to take place in Milwaukee but turned virtual due to the pandemic.
“It is our duty and commitment to be prepared at any time for the community, our patients and our workforce,” said Hass-Peters.
While both Hass-Peters and Liu said the hospital will plan for the worst, they’re hopeful for a smooth event.
“This is an insurance policy in case something were to happen,” said Liu. “We’re hoping and planning for an uneventful [RNC] and we’re also practicing to make sure we’re ready in case something does happen.”
He said tabletop drills have already begun and at the start of 2024, the staff will participate in frequent drills leading up to the RNC.