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Staff get decontamination training at CHI St. Alexius Williston

Staff from CHI St. Alexius Health Williston and surrounding communities get training on decontamination

Healthcare personnel from Williston, Tioga, Watford City and Rolla were on-site at CHI for Hospital Hazmat and Decontamination training, learning the steps necessary to handle a chemical contamination. More than a dozen staff took part in the training, which was presented by Heartland Consulting Group out of Bismarck. “This is so if we would ever have a chemical spill or chemical patients, we would know what to do.”

CHI St. Alexius Emergency Management Coordinator Trish Arnold told the Williston Herald. “We have a Decontamination Team, so we’ve got them here being trained so that if there was an incident, we all know how to handle it.” Arnold said the hospital does regular training for such incidents, but with new staff coming onboard at CHI, the hospital wanted to ensure that all staff receive the necessary training. The eight-hour course taught participants what to do in the event of a chemical contamination, as well as gave them a crash course in the kinds of equipment needed to keep themselves and others safe.

Derek Hanson and Tim Vengerud with Heartland Consulting showed participants how to assemble and put on various types of ventilation equipments, as well as how to properly and quickly put on a hazmat suit. “The reason this training is so important is because if we found ourselves in a condition where people who needed to be decontaminated before they’re brought in the hospital, we need to know what to do.” Arnold said. “So we train on this regularly, because the more we train the more muscle memory comes in to play, and you’re just able to do it instead of having to think about it.”

Arnold said CHI St. Alexius plans to hold the training every quarter in order to keep the knowledge fresh. That knowledge is key to making sure the facility and those inside are kept safe, she added. “I think it’s valuable because if there were an incident, we need to be able to protect the hospital and our staff so they’re not exposed to chemicals and are able to continue to take care of patients.” She said.

Mitch Melberg
Williston Herald