Medical personnel dressed in hazmat suits washing a mannequin through an inflatable emergency tent as they decontaminate the simulated non-ambulatory patient during the decontamination drill.

MemorialCare’s Long Beach Medical Center and Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach hosted and participated in a regional decontamination drill, along with the eight Los Angeles County hospitals that are part of the 13 disaster centers within Los Angeles County. The purpose of the drill was to prepare staff for the possibility of a chemical warfare attack on the city of Long Beach. There were more than 100 medical personnel that were suited up in hazmat suits, carrying simulated patient mannequins through the decontamination procedures.

“Every year, Los Angeles County hospitals come together to run through decontamination drills to ensure we are ready to provide emergency care to our communities should an incident ever happen,” says Steve Shrubb, emergency management coordinator, MemorialCare’s Long Beach Medical Center and Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach. “You never want to think it will happen, but we also want to be prepared. These drills ready our teams on the best way to set up an emergency decontamination area, how to run a patient through the decontamination area, and how to keep ourselves safe as we care for our community.”

Hospitals, doctors, clinicians and public safety officials are committed to take the time out of their busy schedules to train and run through practice drills to ensure the safety of the community. It builds confidence in the medical field and the community that should a chemical attack hit, communities will be properly cared for safely, quickly, and effectively.

“Running through these drills keeps our teams agile should a hazardous incident occur,” says Ian Buchanan, M.D., emergency medicine physician at MemorialCare’s Long Beach Medical Center and Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach. “We understand that should an emergency or disaster strike, we are prepared to take on an influx of patients, follow proper protocols and most importantly keep everyone safe and healthy. It is our number one priority as a medical community to come together and provide your families with the best care no matter the situation.”

The Disaster Resource Center (DRC) at MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center promotes, plans and mitigates cooperation and collaboration with Los Angeles County agencies, hospitals and other healthcare entities with Los Angeles County Emergency Medical System (EMS) Agency as a conduit. The purpose of DRC is to take an “all hazards” approach to disaster preparedness, with an emphasis on terrorism preparedness, including bioterrorism equipment and training. There are 13 other DRC’s in
Los Angeles County.