By Kimberly Foley. CREATED Jan 21, 2014
Omaha, NE -The staff at Bergan Mercy Medical Center have trained dozens of times for disasters, but Monday was the first time they've ever put it to use.
"In my last 11 years, this is the first real event that we have had to set up and co-triage and implement our hospital incident command system," said Lori Jensen, the hospital's safety officer.
On Monday morning, Bergan had about seven minutes from when they got the call to when patients started showing up.
The hospital's garage was transformed into a triage and decontamination center.
It is where the patients, who were exposed to lime and possibly other chemicals, showered before going inside the emergency room.
"My first call was to one of our safety people to say what is our treatment for this individual?" said Rhonda Meyer, who runs the decontamination team. "(We) pulled up an MSDS on our potential chemical, so we knew the appropriate way to get them clean before we brought them into the hospital."
In October, Action 3 News was there as the hospital went through a disaster drill.
Everything from a timeline to the number of staff to the location of patients were all under the watchful eye of Kevin Schwedhelm, who was Monday's incident commander at Bergan Mercy.
"We train as a facility, but more importantly as a community," said Schwedhelm. "I'd say our community is extremely well prepared to handle most incidents."
While, this was the first mass casualty event for a lot of this staff, Schwedhelm said it went as smoothly as possible.
"From an incident command stand point, things went really well yesterday," said Schwedhelm. "Our staff performed extremely well and communication was better than what I thought it was going to be."
Both Creighton University Medical Center and Nebraska Medical Center also responded to Monday's accident.
Officials at Bergan said say good communication between the three hospitals was a major key in the smooth operation.