VOLUNTEERS ON THE SLIDE FOR HOSPITAL DRILL
HAVE you ever wondered what it takes to evacuate a hospital in the event of emergencies?
Hillingdon Hospital held a threehour fire drill earlier this month to test its fire preparedness in ‘Exercise Phoenix’, evacuating two wards on the eighth floor of the tower.
The scenario, a fire in a linen cupboard which was burning through the floor below, saw firefighters from London Fire Brigade join staff and volunteers at the hospital to role-play patient evacuations.
Patients who were able to walk were evacuated down the stairs, while bed-bound patients were gently lifted on to “ski pad” evacuation devices and slid down several flights of stairs by nurses, porters, managers and other volunteers taking part in the three-hour exercise.
The firefighters rushed up the stairs and established a forward command post and communication lines with their engine and co- ordinated a response to the scenario.
Data gathered from the exercise will be used to improve Hilling Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s emergency planning strategy.
Andy O’Brien, the trust’s fire safety adviser and one of the organisers, said: “The exercise was an opportunity to test our evacuation procedures, communication within our command structure and the communication between staff, and how we pass information on to other stakeholders.
“All our volunteers took part with great enthusiasm and diligence, and worked hard to make the exercise as realistic – and therefore as valuable as possible.”
Emergency planning liaison officer Jayne Austin added: “This is one of several live emergency exercises run annually at the Trust and they are always well supported by staff.
“We could not do it without them and we are really grateful for their help.”
Volunteers acted as patients so the ward could continue to function as normal