VOL­UN­TEERS ON THE SLIDE FOR HOS­PI­TAL DRILL

Ruislip & Eastcote & Northwood Gazette - - Front Page - QASIM PERACHA qasim.peracha@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @qasim­per­acha

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

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