Local hospitals participate in a disaster drill - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Local hospitals participate in a disaster drill

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November 14, 2006

Albany--If south Georgia experienced a chemical disaster, would first responders and hospitals be prepared to come to the rescue?

To find out, Dougherty County's emergency planning committee put emergency workers and hospitals to the test Tuesday night. 

One by one, paramedics quickly rush these young patients into Palmyra Medical Center's emergency room.

This patient lost his arm after a chemical explosion at Miller Brewing Company. The explosion crushed another patient's legs.

Gregory Walter, "They are very serious injuries and require a lot of staff."

ER doctor Gregory Walter rushes into action.  Just like a scene out of the popular hit show, ER, he works diligently to save every patient's life.

Gregory Walter, "We had to replace his blood quickly, so we had to put some large IV's in him and sedate him."

It's not every day hospital workers deal with multiple trauma victims at one time.

But fortunately it is all just a drill.

Jim Vaught, "The whole purpose behind this is that you don't practice during a real event."

Emergency Management director Jim Vaught helped organize an ammonia explosion scenario to train hospital workers on how to handle mass casualty emergencies.

Jim Vaught, "One of the things you do to be ready for any incident, is that you practice ahead of time. If you don't practice ahead of time when you actually have an emergency, then you're not prepared for it."

Even though this is just a drill, it feels very real for Walter who has more than twenty years experience working in E-Rs.

Gregory Walter, "It's a very rapid pace. You got to do this, this, this and bark out a lot of orders to the nurse."

And despite a few jitters tonight, he appreciates the training.

Gregory Walter, "You can't be practicing in real life, you have to have your skills honed."

And you never know when those skills might really save a life.

Turner Job Corps students portrayed patients tonight.

EMA director Jim Vaught is looking for grant money to pay for a much larger disaster drill involving all Dougherty and surrounding counties.

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