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franklin county times

Grants OK'd for hospitals' hazard units

By Staff
JUST IN CASE – David Bonner, right, director of the Emergency Room at Rush Foundation Hospital, demonstrates to fellow employee Barry Pettit some of the equipment that could be used to help victims exposed to chemical hazards. The Tuesday demonstration showed Rush employees how to provide medical care in a special decontamination tent. Photo by Kyle Carter / The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
November 10, 2004
Meridian's hospitals are better prepared to help people affected by a chemical spill or bio-terrorist attack.
Grants administered through the Mississippi Hospital Association from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was awarded to Jeff Anderson Regional Medical Center, Riley Hospital and Rush Foundation Hospital to buy new decontamination units.
They are essentially large, portable showers. People who have come in contact with hazardous materials can be rinsed in units at each of the hospitals with special solutions or water.
Jim Rush, safety officer at Rush Foundation Hospital, said that although the large decontamination unit was originally developed for chemical or bio-terrorist attacks, Meridian has the potential for chemical-related accidents because of its railroads and interstates.
Bob Rich, a regional manager for a company called ARAMSCO, helped train the people. ARAMSCO markets Homeland Security products to first responders, police, health care professionals, governments, emergency medical service and security markets.
Termed the "decon shelter," the decontamination unit can be set up within minutes and measures 14 feet by 20 feet. The space also can be divided into separate sections for males, females and non-ambulatory people placed on a stretcher.
Rush said the hospital has a decontamination unit, but it could not accommodate as many people at one time as the new one.

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