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Interagency HAZMAT Drill with St. Mary Medical Center, Long Beach Fire Dept, Long Beach Dept. of Health and Human Services Health HAZMAT

By frhayes | March 20, 2009

Today, for the first time Long Beach Fire Department HAZMAT, St. Mary Medical Center Disaster Resource Center and the LB Health HAZMAT team joined forces to demonstrate interagency cooperation during a chemical weapon/HAZMAT event. The goal was to show interagency capabilities and equipment to deal with mass casualties in an exposure. Today was a hallmark drill bringing teams from field response during a chemical spill or port accident together with hospitals who would get the sick patients. This event was a coordination between Captain David Segura from Long Beach Fire Department HAZMAT and the St. Mary Medical Center Disaster Resource Center team Andy Reno, Nori Readdy and Kathy Crow.  HAZMAT rigs and equipment responded to a mock event at St. Mary Medical Center for demonstration purposes and education of all teams. Members of the Long Beach Fire Dept. HAZMAT team demonstrated equipment, entry team capabilities and suited up in Level A for hospital workers to see what field hazmat response is. Members of Captain David Seguras team spoke to the groups about capabilities and response during events. Cpt. Segura warned the hospital workers that many victims or contaminated patients may flee the scene before being decontaminated. He advocated hospital readiness to prepare for an event such as a tanker truck spill, sarin gas exposure or anthrax event. Representatives from the LB Public Health Department including Mitch Yamada spoke to hospital groups on field safety, detection and health dept. field response. Long Beach Dept. of Health and Human Services works regularly with LB Fire HAZMAT in technical issues such as determining what the chemical is the public has been exposed to. Kathy Crow from St. Mary Medical Center demonstrated mass casualty decontamination for hospitals and showed the decontamination trailer and capabilities of the Disaster Resource Center. Hospitals represented for the drill were St. Mary Medical Center, St. Francis Medical Center and Community Hospital of Long Beach who demonstrated their capabilities with hospital staff donning Level C suits with PAPR. Other participating hospitals who observed for the day were California Hospital, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and Pacific Hospital of Long Beach. Each hospital spoke to LBFD about their specific decontamination capabilities and location of their decon facilities at each hospital. The goal is to eventually incorporate the entire Long Beach Area in an operations plan for response capabilities for resource sharing and patient safety. Similarities and differences in capabilities of all teams were discussed and operational capabilities were shared amongst agencies. This was the first of hopefully many annual events where fire and hospital work with health hazmat in awareness level operations training. Drills such as today show interagency cooperation in disaster preparedness in the Long Beach area. Public safety is key for all these participating departments and training together works towards our goal of keeping our neighborhood safe.

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