Hospital Prepares For Possible Disaster

Should an incident involving hazardous material ever occur medical providers want to be ready. That's why Nacogdoches and Shelby County Medical Centers conducted a decontamination drill.

The annual practice helps them prepare for the real thing. The scenario is a gaseous cloud exposing East Texans to danger.

Bio terrorism team members dressed in awkward plastic suits for the drill. The clothing is so stiff that the jump suits practically stand on their own. A co-worker helps a team member in the suit. "She's going out. The cloud is coming and she's getting out there to help some victims."

Elsewhere a triage nurse sees that the imaginary victims receive proper care. "We saw unconscious victims with respiratory distress."

the drill shows how quickly decon team members can help one another when disaster strikes. Safety Officer Jeff Scarboro explained, "It was a test to see if we could trade out people that had been in suits for a period of about an hour to get relief to them."

Even in cool weather protective suits can be uncomfortable. Members aren't complaining. They just state the fact. "Hot, very hot." Another agrees, "It's warm, a little warm."

Surgery nurse Brenda Coats just joined the decon team. She knows her profession, but for her the new experience brings new awareness. "Risks and hazards that I may have been aware of, but taking this course opened my eyes to a lot of things that could happen in this area," said Coats.

Justin Smelley has been on the team for three years."It helps us to trouble shoot areas that we might need more training or help."

Like the technique for putting on a respirator. Smelley assists new members on how to breathe in to create a suction around the lifesaving tool. All part of the training needed to assure your safety.

"You never know. You never know what's going to come through," says a member. Another restricted by the gear gives a thumbs up. "We're ready. We are ready," she says. The confidence necessary to keep dangerous contaminants out of your hospital.