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Hannibal Regional teams up with local agencies for emergency response drills


When there’s an emergency, you want the people you call for help to be ready. That’s why Hannibal regional and other emergency workers spent Thursday preparing for an emergency.

Dozens of emergency workers came together to Hannibal Regional to practice decontamination drills. They say it’ll make them better prepared for worst-case scenarios.

“Today what we’re doing is a full-scale exercise with collaboration from other community agencies,” said Mike Hale, Manager of Safety and Security at Hannibal Regional.

Participants were sprayed down inside of a tent, simulating decontamination procedures.

Hannibal Regional’s annual decontamination training aims to prepare workers for rare and dangerous emergencies. Today scenario: a chemical weapon.

“They put it into a local crop duster’s plane unbeknownst to the crop duster,’ said Hale, “he takes off to do his thing by spraying the field, the wind takes it to down town Hannibal, we have patients who are contaminated.”

This training gives staff a chance to practice caring for a large amount of patients.

Hospital staff acted as patients in the drills.

“They’re learning how to do a decontamination to contaminated patients,” said Hale, “the emergency department having to work through the patients signs and symptoms to get them released.”

Hannibal Regional officials said they know it’s important for all area first responders to be prepared if an emergency like this happens.

A command center was set up with people planning out the operation as it developed.

“911, the ambulance service, Hannibal Marion County Emergency Management, Ralls County health, of course the hospital and all their departments,” said John Hark, Marion County Emergency Management Director listing all of the different agencies helping out, “so everybody’s playing today.”

The biggest take away– in the event something like this happens, they’re ready to help you and your family safe.

“They’re going to have very highly trained qualified people to serve them and take care of them which should make them a lot more at ease,” said Hark.

They also do one table exercise where they walk through all the steps on paper once a year.

Frank Healy

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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