Decontamination drill

Posted By: Laurann Robinson

What would you do if you came into contact with a harmful chemical?… Well, workers at a hospital in Beatrice spent two days learning.

Today, they got some hands–on experience learning what to do if there's an outbreak of some sort of hazardous chemical.

And to make the learning experience even more colorful, they got to practice with a handful of adorable little patients.

The scene: a crop duster accidentally sprays chemicals over the general public.

The cast: some local kids raising money to help rebuild Beatrice's baseball fields after recent floods destroyed them.

"If that really happened it'd be scary, but having it to pretend was kind of a cool experience," says 12-year-old Addy Timmerman, a participant.

10-year-old Chesney Buhr adds, "just like how much you have to wash it off. You have to get every little spot."

The Center for Preparedness Education out of Omaha spent two days teaching workers what to do if an emergency like this really did happen.

On day one, they learned what they needed to know.

On day two, they put it into action.

"We're in the second phase of the drill. So if you hear children screaming, they're simulating that they're covered in a chemical that's burning them. And so they're heading into the decontamination tents now," said Barbara Dodge with CPE.

The kids, covered in strawberry syrup to represent actual chemicals, played the victims.

"We have kids that volunteered to be contaminated. That way it gives our team here at the hospital a chance to actually work with a victim," explains, Mark Jobman, Facility Supervisor with the Beatrice Community Hospital.

Using the information they just learned, the staff had to de-robe, thoroughly wash, re–dress, and then examine each tiny patient.

14-year-old participant Matthew Jobman says, "since they cut off our clothes, they just put these on so we have something to wear when they got through with everything."

They did all this while dressed in haz–mat suits that don't allow any outside contaminants to get to the worker…

and equipped with its own air filter, not even air can get through.

Dodge adds, "we make sure that each one that's in a suit has someone watching them to make sure that they're safe. And they have hand signals. They'll ask is everything okay? Everything's ok. If I'm not okay, it's like this. If I'm really in trouble, get me out of here now."

The hospital says this is the second time they're put on this event.

They had their first training about ten years ago, but felt they were ready for a refresher course.