ORANGE CITY, Fla., April 19, 2017 Florida Hospital Fish Memorial conducted a full-scale emergency response decontamination drill on April 7.
The premise of the fictitious emergency scenario was a car accident on I-4 near Exit 111 involving students taking a field trip to Orlando. In the scenario, a truck carrying 25, 50-gallon drums of the chemical glutaraldehyde sideswiped a Volusia County school van with six students and a teacher from University High School riding inside. The teacher was not harmed, but all six of the students we soaked with the chemicals and were transported to Florida Hospital Fish Memorial for care.
For this exercise, 10 students and a teacher from University High Schools biomedical education classes volunteered to participate.
In addition, volunteers from Volusia County Medical Reserve Corps assisted with donning and doffing the protective gear, as well as decontamination inside the ZUMRO tent, a rapid deployable emergency shelter system for on-the-scene decontamination.
The Florida Department of Health Epidemiology strike team took the vitals of the Florida Hospital Fish Memorial emergency management disaster team wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). They monitored the hospital teams heart rates and blood pressure to ensure their safety and avoid overheating or dehydration, just as they would during a real crisis.
As the team lead for this exercise, we have been planning this for more than six months. It took more than 60 people to pull this off, said Melanie Robinson, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial emergency management specialist. Formalized and practiced decontamination procedures are critical to the health and safety of our hospital personnel. It was a learning experience for us all and I'm so proud of our team for pulling together during this drill.
In the event of an actual contamination crisis, these procedures will remove or neutralize contaminates on personnel and equipment, minimizing the transfer of harmful materials into clean areas of the hospital, ultimately protecting both staff and patients.
This drill provided the Florida Hospital Fish Memorial decontamination team with an opportunity to practice with hazardous material suits and the ZUMRO tent, as well as the Trident water spraying equipment.
The stretcher assembly was something I was glad we were able to practice with, Robinson said. While we do use stretchers every day in the hospital, operating these stretchers was more difficult than you would expect. They are specialized to help injured victims get through the decontamination process without further injury and are much different to what we are used to working with day in and day out.
About Florida Hospital Fish Memorial
Florida Hospital Fish Memorial is a member of Adventist Health System, a faith-based health care organization with 46 hospital campuses and nearly 8,200 licensed beds in 10 states. With 175-beds, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial is one of the six Florida Hospitals in Volusia and Flagler counties that composes the Florida Hospital East Florida Region. As the largest hospital system in the area, the Florida Hospital East Florida Region has 923 beds and more than 6,000 employees. With a mission to extend the healing ministry of Christ, the Florida Hospital East Florida Region collectively contributed nearly $120 million in benefits in 2015 to the underprivileged, the community's overall health and wellness and spiritual needs, and capital improvements.