Chester, IL – Memorial Hospital’s Decon Team hosted an eight hour Decon Operations Training Exercise on September 13, 2023. Fifteen participants from Memorial and three other hospitals attended the event including staff from Red Bud Regional Hospital, Sparta Community Hospital, and SIH of Harrisburg. Memorial Hospital Belleville’s HOPE Coalition conducted the training event in Chester.
Decon Teams are utilized in response to a hazardous material event. Such an event could be an internal spill at the facility, an event imposed upon the facility, or an external event in which contaminated persons arrive at the facility for medical attention. Through this training seminar, participants utilized equipment and tools that would be necessary in a real life event. Team members donned full suits, Memorial of Chester's decontamination tent was assembled and mock-patients were ran through the scenario for decontamination and clean up.
Georgia Stipe, Emergency Management Preparedness Coordinator and Shane Chandler, Decon Team Leader at Memorial of Chester helped organize the training event. The day started with classroom curriculum and then moved into practical exercises in the afternoon. “The exercise was intense,” said Stipe. “Practicing a real event in full suits helps us better prepare for a real-world situation.” Following the incident, the team then collaborated with an Action Plan and After Actions Report to help see where improvements could be made and discuss what went well.
Training exercises like this are held for specialized staff at Memorial periodically. By walking through possible emergency scenarios and action plans, staff become better prepared for a real life event. Other events planned for staff include Active Shooter Training from the Chester Police Department and annual Fire Safety Training. All staff participate in these latter two events to ensure they are ready to react when emergencies develop.