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Harrington practices disaster


HAZMAT drill offers valuable insight, experience



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Southbridge High student Briannaliz Colon, who was a disaster drill volunteer, is inspected by the decontamination team at the mock hazardous materials exercise at Harrington Hospital on Thursday. Adam T. Silva. (click for larger version)
December 19, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — The "disaster" was a success.

Harrington Hospital held a mock hazardous material drill on Thursday, Dec. 16 to test the hospital's response to a hazardous materials incident and test its lockdown capabilities.

Seven volunteers were whisked into the containment room as three HAZMAT suited members of the decontamination team performed their duties in conditions as close to the real thing as possible. Six of the volunteers were from Southbridge High School.

Each volunteer held up a piece of paper as they entered the decontamination room stating what happened to them and what injuries they had incurred. The members of the team performed their duties based on those papers.

When an "injured" patient walked through the door, they were instantly scrubbed down (without really being touched), quickly ushered to the next responder — who mimicked spraying them down with one decontaminate — and sent to the third for another mock spraying and final inspection.

As would be expected, mistakes pointed to where modifications needed to be made. One volunteer was on crutches. While she was being decontaminated, Kenneth Simpson, who was monitoring the procedure, asked while the team fiercely went about their job.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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