KDMC staff members get Haz-Mat training

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Staff members at King’s Daughters Medical Center participated ina practical training exercise Saturday morning to prepare fordealing with a hazardous material incident should one happen inLincoln County.

Kim Bridge, a registered nurse and director of KDMC communityeducation and staff development, said the exercise was held after acourse to train staff members for the hospital’s Chemical OrdinanceBiological Radiological Accident team. The COBRA team serves todecontaminate any people that come into contact with hazardousmaterial.

“(The COBRA team’s) purpose is to recognize a Haz-Mat incident,and to be able to move people in and out,” Bridge said.

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In Saturday’s activity, a group of victims – portrayed byvolunteers from local Boy Scout Troop 120 and family members ofhospital employees – simulated water contamination. The victimsproceeded to a decontamination tent in which the hospital’s COBRAteam, wearing Haz-Mat suits, removed contaminated clothing andwashed the victims’ skin.

Brookhaven Fire Department and Heuck’s Retreat Volunteer FireDepartment equipment was used for the activity. Civil DefenseCoordinator Clifford Galey and the Mississippi Department of Healthalso observed the exercise.

The equipment used by the COBRA team and the training providedwas purchased through a federal grant from the Department ofHomeland Security.

Bridge and paramedics Ricky Alford and John Riggs were trainedto form the hospital’s COBRA team in February. Saturday’s stafferswere the first group to man the team, said Bridge, adding that hehopes the entire hospital staff will eventually be trained for theteam in upcoming classes.

Bridge said he was pleased with Saturday’s simulation, and thatthe team is now ready to handle Haz-Mat incidents.

“We were very pleased with it,” he said. “With some minoradjustments, we’re ready for anything.”

Hazardous material could result from terrorism incidents, Bridgesaid, but would more likely be the result of traffic accidentsinvolving transportation of hazardous material.

“Our biggest concern is the possibility of a chlorine leak,”Bridge said.

With Interstate 55 and rail lines running through the county,Bridge said the possibility exists for a Haz-Mat incident to occurin the county.

“People don’t realize that we’re in a volatile situation,”Bridge said.