SCHNECK MEDICAL CENTER PRACTICES PATIENT EVACUATION DRILL
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November 7, 2012
Scenario: When making rounds, the registered nurse found a fire
in a patient room on the third floor of the hospital.
This situation formed the basis of the most recent disaster preparedness training at Schneck Medical Center. Last week, hospital staff on four different inpatient areas, multiple non-clinical areas, and the Seymour Fire Department worked together to safely evacuate patients from a fire and smoke filled patient care area.
Schneck believes that preparedness in advance is imperative. “We learn every day to respond to emergencies, especially when colleagues experience disasters like that in New York,” states Janet Myers, Director of Risk & Safety Management. “It is critically important that our staff regularly prepare for real disasters so we know how to respond and what resources are available. In a hospital evacuation, the safety and welfare of our patients is paramount to our evacuation processes in place, staff education, equipment and communication.”
Schneck has “evacuation devices” when elevators are powerless or pre-occupied with fire fighters. One is a “med sled”, an envelope-like sled folded around a patient to descend a stairway, while another is a “stair chair” that allows hospital workers to maneuver patient gently down steps.
Schneck’s disaster preparedness training includes computer based learning, tabletop drills, at least two “live” drills per year, and monthly meetings of a disaster preparedness committee to ensure adequate policies, equipment, and training for the organization.
“A full hospital evacuation is something that may never happen or may happen tomorrow, but it is something we have to be prepared for. It’s very possible that all our planning might never come in to play, and we’re hoping that’s the case,” says Myers. “The more we plan and the more we learn, the better we’ll be able to take care of our community in a real situation.”