Lehigh Regional Medical Center held a surprise drill in its Emergency Room to measure the efficiency of its medical staff and James Allard, director of plant operations and safety officer for LRMC, today said the drill was a success.
"Everything went smoothly we hold these drills from time to time to see how our emergency room staff reacts to some type of emergency," Allard said.
The drill, held on March 8, was a simulation and more than 100 people participated in the drill including ER personnel, EMS, the fire department, the Lee County Sheriff's Office and the county health department.
According to Allard the "simulated" emergency involved an explosion from a science project by a student on a school bus. He said around 20 "simulated" students were on the bus and were injured to some degree.
He said the drill began shortly after 9 a.m. when the simulated emergency was called in.
"These students from East County High School were brought to our ER and our staff began by doing a triage outside the ER. Each student word a tag identifying the type of injury he or she had.
"They were brought into the ER, after being showered for "hazard chemicals" outside and treated appropriately," he said.
In addition to the 20 students, the bus driver was also brought to the hospital in the drill.
Allard said LRMC has these types of drills throughout the year and they are surprises to the staff. Calls are made to those affected employees in the hospital who spring into action for any type of disaster, he said.
The hospital conducts what it calls full scale exercises, involving most of the employees.
"During these drills, no actual patients or those attending to them are involved. So there is never a lack of attention to the actual patient in our hospital," Allard said.
The drill involved decontamination of the bus students and the driver due to "hazardous chemical substances."
"It gives our personnel and those involved such as the Sheriff's Office, the fire department and EMS and others a real look into what can happen and what can be done to keep our people ready for any such emergency," Allard said.
"I think those involved knew the seriousness of the drill. We do these things to keep those involved ready for large emergencies.
"In this case, a 'student' had brought his science project with him on the bus on the way to school. Because of the chemicals that he used in his project, there was a simulated explosion on the bus and the students were injured and needed immediate treatment at the hospital's Emergency Room.
"It all went very well and we know LRMC's Emergency Room is ready for all types of emergencies.
"We must be prepared at all times," Allard said.
Other exercises involve the entire hospital. The last such full scale hospital-wide exercise was held last April.