Hospital staff at Lafayette General Medical Center were caught off guard Wednesday morning. Similar to a school fire drill, personnel had to respond to a HAZMAT emergency, but it was all staged.
They deal with emergencies every day, but normally on an individual basis. But are hospital personnel prepared to deal with an emergency situation that puts everyone's life at risk?
Wednesday, they were put to the test. Daryl Cetnar, the Community Relations Director explains.
"We are going through the entire process of a fictitious crash with a chemical spill. We have our HAZMAT tent and HAZMAT crew in place," said Cetnar.
Properly suited up with actors playing patients, employees were given a mock-scenario and graded on their response. Hospital administrators were in on the plan, but not the staff.
"Staff was not notified in advance," said Cetnar. "This was truly, a true emergency drill called a Code Yellow HAZMAT."
And for a hospital LGMC's size-around 350 beds-it's critical to work out all the kinks should there ever be a real life emergency.
Cetnar says there's been no HAZMAT emergency at LGMC in recent memory. And while it's common to conduct evacuations and power outage drills, the HAZMAT scenario is a lot more involved. It's just another learning opportunity, raising the bar for the hospital.
"In order to ensure the safety of our staff, our patients, the media, to make sure no one is exposed to chemicals, we need to practice and make sure things are done right," said Cetnar.
No services at LGMC were hampered by the drill. However if it were a real-life scenario, there would be only one emergency exit and scheduled surgeries would have to be considered on an as-need basis.