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St. Elizabeth’s Hospital buys, trains on new decontamination shelter

From Illinois Business Journal news services

BELLEVILLE – HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital recently purchased a new emergency shelter that will be used for decontamination and mass casualty events.

The Losberger MDS-three line mass casualty/decontamination shower shelter is made by Traube Tent. The purchase was made possible by a grant from the Friends of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, the hospital’s foundation. The total cost was approximately $42,000.

The equipment will be available for use in what’s known as the Region 4 EMS area, said Kevin Scheibe, EMS/Emergency Management Coordinator for St. Elizabeth’s.

“Having this advanced resource allows our community to be confident in knowing that St. Elizabeth’s will be ready to deploy and serve their needs in any decontamination or mass casualty event that arises in our area,” he said in a statement.

The new shelter can deploy in less than six minutes which allows for faster patient decontamination and patient care.

It also features three lanes for gender specific accommodations, as well as non-ambulatory patients that are in need of treatment while on backboards. Other features also include improved privacy, climate control for extreme weather situations, as well as faster processing, allowing patient care to begin sooner.

The shelter also is equipped and suitable to decontaminate pediatric patients.

St. Elizabeth’s emergency response region includes a rural farming region, as well as a well-developed industrial region, where many hazardous risk events could potentially occur, Scheibe said. In order to help prepare for such events, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital conducts a Hazard Vulnerability Analysis each year to determine which potential hazards and risks could occur. Through this annual analysis, hazmat risk events have been placed in the top five potential emergencies each year.

Additionally, purchasing the decontamination shelter allows St. Elizabeth’s to remain in compliance with the new federal and state emergency preparedness “all-hazards approach” requirements. Hospitals can no longer completely rely on local resources to provide decontamination in medium to large scale events, as resources are often quickly consumed in the time of need.

Training sessions recently were held to allow colleagues to learn how to deploy the shelter, set-up all accessories as well as attachments, and take down the entire system.

Additional specialized training for select colleagues involves advanced Emergency Response training in Anniston, Ala. Five St. Elizabeth’s colleagues have received their instructor certification and will begin to teach additional colleagues with on-site training to become members of the Hospital Emergency Response Team.

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