Carson Valley Medical Center Participates In Hazardous Materials Drill
On March 29, Carson Valley Medical Center was involved in a hazardous chemical exposure exercise that originated at the GE Baker Hughes (formerly GE Bently) campus in Minden.
The scenario involved a simulated organophosphate spill at GE. East Fork Fire Protection District responded to the scene with its Hazardous Materials Response Unit and set up a decontamination station on site.
East Fork communicated the chemical information to CVMC’s emergency room via emergency dispatch, which allowed CVMC personnel to begin preparing for the arrival of patients from the scene.
As part of the drill, one patient was transported to CVMC with complaints of nausea, dizziness and eventually, started simulating seizures. The main hospital building was placed on lockdown to ensure no other contaminated victims were able to enter the building and spread the contamination.
The patient was brought through a direct entrance into a designated decontamination room in the emergency department, where RN Mike Wills — wearing personal protective equipment and a powered air purifying respirator — was already waiting.
Medical staff communicated with Mike via phone as the patient went through full decontamination. The patient, once fully decontaminated, was moved into a regular room for treatment.
“The doctor was kept out of the decontamination room because in a situation like that, he’ll still have to manage any other patients in the ER and communicate with the nursing staff to make sure everyone is on the same page,” CVMC Emergency Preparedness & Safety Officer Jamie Gower said. “Once the patient is decontaminated, then the nurse has to go through the decontamination process. It was a really cool, really interesting process.”
Representatives from the Nevada Department of Public Health were on hand to review the drill as it played out. All participants were gathered later in the day for a debriefing to review the aspects that went well and the areas where there could have been improvement.
“Mainly, it’s good practice to ensure we have communication protocols in place and best practices established for when something like this does happen,” Gower said.
Carson Valley Medical Center is a nonprofit medical organization that provides acute and ICU care, surgery, 24-hour emergency services, primary care and outpatient services throughout Carson Valley.
A partnership of Barton Health and Renown Health, Carson Valley Medical Center’s mission is to care for the health and wellness of our community by providing accessible, affordable, high-quality healthcare for all. For more information, visit www.cvmchospital.org.