Georgia holds three day bioterror decontamination course

The Tift Regional Medical Center in Tifton, Ga., recently held a three day decontamination trainer course to train personnel in procedures to be used during an emergency biological contamination scenario.

The trainer course instructed 29 participants in Code Orange training techniques, which refers to biological contamination and any type of accident that results in chemical or radiation exposure. The state Department of Public Health and Emergency Preparedness sponsored the event to help local medical centers meet a new state requirement that decontamination teams must be ready to receive their first patient in 20 minutes or less, the Tifton Gazette reports.

“There are 10,000 people in danger at the stadium,” Eddie Senkbeil, the emergency department resource coordinator at Tift Regional Medical Center, said to the trainees at the UGA Conference Center, according to the Tifton Gazette. “There is a white powdery substance that could be anthrax everywhere at the football stadium during the Tift County vs. Valdosta football game. We need help now!”

Brandi Newman, a clinical educator in the ER of TRMC was designated in charge of the hypothetical operation.

“It was a difficult job,” Newman said, according to the Tifton Gazette. “The hardest part for me was keeping up with everyone’s times in-and-out of the suits, but I remained calm, which is what you have to do in that type of situation.”

The course was led by Hot Zone USA, emergency response and Occupational Safety Health Administration training specialists. All 29 participants in the course are now considered trainers who can share the new decontamination methods for a Code Orange with their hospitals and fire departments.

“The purpose of the program is for the hospitals in the state to come together to learn these new methods so that it will be possible in the future to train each other on the new methods that make decontamination easier,” Senkbeil said, according to the Tifton Gazette. “It is more cost effective that way.”