Preparing for hospital emergencies

AUSTIN, Minn. – It is a situation they never want to experience, but hospital employees need to be ready if something severe happens.

That is why they took the day to learn, and refresh, on how to manage a situation that requires decontamination.

Jan Hajek is part of a volunteer emergency response team. She got a little bit of practice in just in case she needs to use her skills.

It all happened at the Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin.

“He went through everything with us, we got to reenact everything, which I think is easier to stick with you versus just sitting down and watching a video and them talking,” Hajek said.

She said that hands-on experience is valuable since this is not something she does for real very often.

“It could be years before you even think about this again, so I think it sticks with you more if you’re doing it, you’re actually going through it and learning that way,” Hajek said.

Here is the scenario:

There has been an accident involving a chemical carrier with three critically injured patients. Ten minutes later they learn that law enforcement, tow truck drivers and others were also impacted and need medical attention.

It was all being taught by a University of Minnesota instructor.

“This is a great group of people, they do a fantastic job, they’re very well supervised, nice equipment, great intentions for its patient care,” said Chuck McKusick, an instructor in the Department of Environmental Health.

Once a year, this hospital and others around the state receive this type of training.

“It is really the four links, hospital, law enforcement, fire and ambulance. Those are the four links to successfully manage a crisis like this,” McKusick said.

A crisis that they hope they never have to face.

“It was very informative, I learned a lot of stuff that I didn’t even have a clue about,” Hajek said.

The trainees spent eight hours learning the ins and outs of these scenarios.

The hospitals safety and emergency management coordinator said these drills are important so that everyone is up to date.

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