Safety

An emergency drill up close

Hospital Safety Insider, October 23, 2014

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“Winchester control to all units, respond to 620 Washington Street for the motor vehicle crash. Multiple victims involved …”

The above 911 police dispatch is something that occurs in U.S. cities every day and, unfortunately, a car accident like this will bring victims to the ED with all sorts of injuries.

For the most part, hospital staff in the ED are trained to deal with this kind of accident as a commonplace event. Where it gets challenging is when hospital staff get overwhelmed by circumstances they didn't see coming.

What the initial dispatch above didn't say was that the accident involved three vehicles, including a landscaping truck that was rear-ended, releasing a leak of hazardous chemicals from a tank on the back of the truck. The chemicals killed one person and exposed everyone at the accident scene—including the first responding police officer—and required a full HAZMAT response at the hospital as over a dozen people flooded the ER at Winchester (Massachusetts) Hospital in the suburban Boston town.

The above scenario occurred on August 7, and thankfully it was only a drill designed to test the response of both first responders and the ER staff at the hospital. Briefings on Hospital Safety was invited to observe the drill to see what a full-response emergency exercise should look like.

This is an excerpt from an article in the October issue of Briefings on Hospital Safety. Visit here to log in or subscribe.

 



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