Claxton-Hepburn conducts surprise fire and evacuation drill; staffers act as injured patients
Thursday, May 12, 2011 - 5:07 pm

OGDENSBURG – Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center tested its fire and evacuation procedures Thursday morning.

The surprise drill, conducted with the assistance of the Ogdensburg Fire Department, allowed hospital personnel the opportunity to test how they would respond in the event of a real emergency.

“We created a scenario where a patient on our Acute Rehabilitation Unit was smoking in bed while using oxygen, causing a fire,” said Jennie Flanagan, director of compliance and accreditation at Claxton-Hepburn.

“We used our employees as patients to simulate how we would evacuate the unit and contain the fire until the fire department arrived.”

Each year, employees are required to review fire safety information and the hospital has regular fire drills. The drill allowed staff to test specialized rescue equipment and procedures.

It also tested the hospital’s Incident Command System which is intended to centralize emergency operations through an organized structure with specifically assigned duties and one person in control.

“The drill also required the hospital to go into ‘lock down,’ which meant no one could go in or out of the hospital during the drill,” stated Laura Shea, hospital spokesperson. We apologize to any inconvenience this may have caused to our patients or visitors.”

“At the end of the drill, everyone involved met to discuss the experience,” Flanagan added. “As we expected, the drill identified many opportunities to improve. We will incorporate those learnings into our emergency response procedures.