Flirting with disaster: Drill gives agencies lessons in emergencies

Published 3:44 am Monday, July 3, 2006

By By LISA TINDELL – News reporter
Time is of the essence when a disaster takes place. Finding out just how quickly patients can be taken care of in the event of a disaster is just what the administrators of D.W. McMillan Memorial Hospital were learning as a drill was conducted Thursday morning.
A busload of &#8220victims,” all nursing students from Jefferson Davis Community College, were involved in an accident with a fertilizer truck and treated by EMS personnel as well as Brewton Fire Department personnel during a drill that simulated the effects of an accident involving a chemical spill.
According to E-911 Administrator Janie Hamric, the chemical spill in this mock disaster was calcium oxide.
The disaster drill was sponsored by D.W. McMillan to test the abilities of all emergency personnel in the area to include fire, ambulance and hospital employees.
Following the mock accident, all available personnel at McMillan were on hand in the triage area to evaluate patients as they arrived by ambulance. Nurses, intake clerks, administrators and directors helped direct patients to the proper areas to receive treatment for their &#8220injuries.”
X-ray, ER, outpatient, and other departments had all available staff members helping to determine which patients were critical and to what extent immediate care was needed.
Bob Ellis, director of nursing at McMillan, said hospital personnel covered the emergency efficiently and effectively.
The purpose of the exercise was to determine the strengths and weaknesses that become evident in emergency situations. According to Ellis, there were very few problems that came as a result of this mock crisis.
The mock disaster was conducted with assistance from the Emergency Management Agency, the E-911 Agency, Brewton Police Department, Brewton Fire Department, JDCC nursing department, D.W. McMillan Memorial Hospital employees and McMillan EMS personnel.

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