Archive September 2018 XIX, No. 9

Ideas That Work: Emergency Preparedness

Fire Evacuation Drills (Not) for Dummies

Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
PLAYING PATIENT Using staff members as evacuees instead of mannequins in fire evacuation drills can enhance learning.

We added a spark to our emergency operations plan this year by letting staff play the roles of patient evacuees during our quarterly fire evacuation drills, which involve more than 150 members of our perioperative team. We had been using mannequins in our drills, but everyone was more engaged when we swapped them out for staff. That's important when you're trying to teach so many their role in evacuating an anesthetized patient during a fire, especially when you have as many ORs as we do: 26 in our Level 1 adult trauma center, 7 in our pediatric trauma center and 3 smaller ORs in our south wing.

Staff actively participate in our fire evacuation drills. They rotate through stations where they pull the fire alarm, spray fire extinguishers at a simulated fire, shut off the gas control valves, and pack "patients" into a Med Sled evacuation stretcher and move them to different zones — across the OR room, out into the hallway or into a recovery room — depending on the intensity of the "fire" (flames depicted on a monitor that sits upon a rolling cart).

Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
FIRE PATROL Emergency OR Plan planners OR Nursing Education Instructor Lee C. Lynn, RN, BSN, Fire Safety Supervisor Russell Knapp and OR Nurse Manager Jennifer I. Butch, RN, BSN, BS, MHSA, CNOR, man the fire simulator.

Understanding the fire evacuation process is serious business, but this year's climate was, shall I say, more fun because we involved staff as evacuees. The OR head nurses that directed each group through the stations and the safety department staff that presented scripts about certain procedures did a great job, but staff learned even more than before because they were able to gain input from the person they were evacuating.

Lee Lynn, RN, BSN
Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
Hershey, Pa.

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