Local Hospital Ready In Case Of Terror Emergency

Among places staying ready to respond to terror attacks are hospitals. Some California hospitals have been put on alert because of concern Al Qaeda may be targeting them for attacks.

Disaster preparation is nothing new at Lufkin's Memorial Hospital, but recent events have had an effect on the way it's approached.

"What we've had to do is prepare for the unexpected. We've always done disaster preparedness, disaster took a whole new look in 2001." says Ken Jobe with Memorial Health Systems.

Of course hospitals are expected to treat the sick and injured following a terrorist attack. But how would a hospital itself be targeted?

"They could look at the radiation side, they could look at just impacting the hospital with mass number of casualties. The bad part of a hospital is that if it's contaminated, it's contaminated... it's closed. That's one of the worst things that could happen to a hospital." says Jobe.

Memorial hospital employees have taken part in several disaster training programs. In return, the hospital has received grant money to purchase items that would be used in a chemical or biological situation. Plans are also in place if the hospital itself becomes a target.

"If we had an incident, we have our disaster and emergency management plan, and we actually have one called a 'code red' which is our internal disaster plan. So we do have plans to treat victims from inside the hospital. Treatment areas, who staffs those areas, and that's been a part of our plan forever, it's just a new face of it when it comes to terrorism."

Experts know hospitals in larger cities like Houston or Dallas would likely be more of a target for terrorists. But in these days, it never hurts to be too cautious.