In the world we live in, it's important to be prepared for anything. That's why Preston Memorial Hospital held it's second Emergency Preparedness Decontamination Drill. With the help of the community, they're hoping that they will be prepared for any situation.
"Our scenario is, an unknown powder was dispersed at the ChalleNGe Academy," said Linda Flemmer, the Director for Quality Improvement and Risk Management at Preston Memorial Hospital. "A number of cadets were contaminated with the powder, as well as a working dog and his handler. They're going to be coming to the hospital, which is the closest location, to be decontaminated."
ChalleNGe Academy Cadets volunteered their time to play victims for the drill. Each cadet was put through the decontamination tent and washed clean, just like they would be in a real emergency.
Preston County is one of the first in the state to have an all community based decontamination team. That includes everyone from physical therapy physicians to attorneys.
"It's important that in an actual disaster a lot of the nurses and doctors are going to be involved in the hospital themselves," Dr. Fred Conley, the Director of Threat Preparedness at Preston Memorial Hospital said. "Where in this case we have folks from the community that can set up that decontamination shelter and actually provide that service for the hospital."
The hospital also practiced how to handle a four legged patient. The scenario included a service dog and it's handler needing to be decontaminated.
"You can deal with the handler but if you don't deal with the dog the handler will become re-exposed," said Mike Flemmer, the dog handler. "Plus, anything that the dog comes in contact with will get exposed, or re-exposed, so you have to get the dog decontaminated along with the handler."
"I would really like to thank the state for working so hard to make sure that we have the resources and funds that we need to be able to serve the Preston County residents," Linda Flemmer said. "If we weren't here, the closest location would be to go to UHC or any of the hospitals in Morgantown. That's just too far if you've been contaminated."
The Decontamination Team at Preston Memorial Hospital cut their set up time in half from the first drill. Team members assembled the tent and were ready to treat patients in 15 minutes.