South Jersey Healthcare’s hazmat team an example of preparedness

Emergency Management Alert, September 22, 2009 has highlighted South Jersey Healthcare's preparedness plan when it comes to hazardous materials. The piece is a good description of what hospitals must conquer in the case of a mass casualty incident involving biological or chemical agents.

The preparedness includes working closely with local emergency officials to help make the hospital self-sufficient in such an event. The entire emergency department staff is trained in using basic personal protective equipment( PPE), and the hospital also established its own response team to handle decontamination operations, which includes 70 volunteers from various departments, including nursing, maintenance, security, housekeeping, respiratory, dietary, employee health, human resources, and administration.

Volunteers are trained for hazmat situations, including identifying situations involving hazardous materials, decontamination procedures, and PPE use.

The hospital also conducts one major full-scale exercise a year in conjunction with local first responders, who also observe and evaluate the team's performance.


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