HCN News & Notes

Mass-casualty Drill Held at Baystate Noble Hospital

WESTFIELD — On April 13, a mass-casualty drill was held at Baystate Noble Hospital. This was a group collaboration between the Westfield Fire Department (WFD) and Baystate Noble’s Emergency Department. In attendance were team members of the Nursing Flex team and Security, as well as more than 40 students from Elms College, Westfield State University, and Holyoke Community College.

WFD brought its decontamination tent and explained the logistics of running patients through it. Participants were shown different zones of safety and the importance of good communication. Scenarios included students, who oversaw the triaging of patients or the treating of patients, or were portraying the victims. Leaders and participants debriefed between scenarios and then ran through another, giving everyone a chance to be a provider or a victim. A fun curveball was included at the end of the drill — the use of glitter as a contaminant to highlight the havoc one person can cause if not decontaminated.

“The MDU [Mass Decontamination Unit] drill on Saturday was a great opportunity for all participants to get hands-on experience,” said John Atwater, manager of Facilities & Engineering at Baystate Noble Hospital. “The Westfield Fire Department took time to explain what they were doing and how the entire operation works. They gave the students an opportunity to set up the unit, explaining that, if it was a true incident, WFD would be on the scene and not at the hospital. This drill displayed a great partnership between Baystate Noble Hospital, Westfield Fire Department, and the three colleges.”