2009-01-30 / Community

PHC Hosts Hazardous Material Drill

For the purpose of reinforcing its Emergency Management-Hazmat Operations program, Peninsula Hospital Center invited National Grid, the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) and volunteer ambulance companies to work with them Saturday, January 24 to conduct a joint Hazardous Materials Drill. National Grid, and its contractor, Posillico Environmental, Inc., were invited to participate because they will soon remove contaminated soil from the old coal gasification plant on Beach 108 Street. Given these circumstances, Peninsula Hospital Center set up a drill scenario involving a "mock" accident at the MGP site. Even though medical personnel confirmed that the chemicals involved would most likely not require decontamination procedures, this mock drill was developed to challenge all facets of emergency decontamination at all levels.

The participants in the drill included

Peninsula Hospital Center's Emergency

Department and members of the ........ Hospice Center's Emergency Management Team, under the supervision of Julie Hassing, PHC's Safety Director and Michael Valentino, PHC's Director of Security and Emergency Preparedness Coordinator.

The overall goals of the drill included the review and testing of the notification process between emergency responders and the receiving facility (PHC). Additionally, the drill reviewed and reinforced the Hospital Center's response to an event requiring decontamination of patients; that is, setting up the decontamination tent and properly decontaminating patients prior to triage without putting other patients or emergency personnel at risk.

The drill kicked off at approximately 9 a.m. on Saturday setting the Hospital Center's Emergency Team in motion. Hospital maintenance and security personnel immediately set up the decontamination tent in anticipation of the arrival of "mock patients" who were transported to PHC by volunteers from the Broad Channel Fire Department Volunteer Ambulance Corps. Upon arrival at Peninsula, the "patients" were triaged in the contamination tent positioned directly outside of the Emergency Department and assessed for their levels of acuity and degree of contamination under the direction of Phyllis Prawzinsky, RN, Assistant Head Nurse, E.D. Following assessment, the mock patients, as well as Emergency Management Service personnel, were put through a dry run decontamination.

"The drill lasted just about one hour and was an outstanding success, thanks to the participation of the FDNY, Broad Channel Fire Department, Dr. Michael Franklin, Director, Emergency Department, the entire Emergency Room staff, as well as the Emergency Management Team of the hospital," Hassing remarked during the drill's after-action report. "These simulated Hazmat exercises, however, would not be possible without the cooperation and assistance of the local community served by Peninsula Hospital Center," said Security Director, Michael Valentino. "The level of participation and support provided by National Grid and their local contractor went above and beyond cooperation, as they were truly an integral part of the exercise." Tom Campbell, National Grid's Project Manager, Environmental Department, expressed his appreciation to the Hospital Center. "We're very grateful for this opportunity to integrate our own extensive safety procedures with Peninsula Hospital Center. All of us were impressed with the way everyone worked together as a team."

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