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Metro Newsroom

Louisville to Rehearse Large-Scale Emergency Response

Wednesday September 6, 2006

City agencies, area hospitals to stage decontamination exercise Sept. 12

To further the community’s preparedness for major emergencies, a large-scale decontamination exercise will be staged Tuesday, Sept. 12.

“When a crisis occurs, Louisville’s response is coordinated and collaborative,” Mayor Jerry Abramson said. “This exercise will strengthen the working relationships among our hospitals and emergency agencies.” The mayor noted that September is National Preparedness Month.

Several city agencies and 25 area hospitals and health organizations from five Kentucky and Indiana counties will participate in the exercise, based on a mock scenario involving a chemical release to a large number of citizens. Each hospital will deploy the portable decontamination units the city acquired last year, and staff will move mock patients through the decontamination process. The hospitals also will set up their operation centers and test their communications functions.

“People should not be alarmed next Tuesday if they see decontamination chambers and lots of out-of-the-ordinary activity around our hospitals,” said Dr. Bill Smock, chair of the Medical Subcommittee of the Louisville Metro Crisis Group. “In this case, it’s a good thing that advances the preparedness of our community.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Region 6 Health Resources and Services Administration Committee is providing coordination and oversight for the exercise. Louisville Metro Emergency Management Agency, EMS, Health Department and Police Department, as well as other health facilities and departments from across the region will participate.

The decontamination units are part of the 17 emergency-supply trailers obtained through the Louisville Metropolitan Medical Response System, a coalition of emergency-response and emergency-management agencies and organizations in Louisville and surrounding counties.

The trailers are funded through $500,000 in federal grants.

The decontamination units include an inflatable air shelter with separate air-controlled chambers for undressing, detergent shower, rinse shower and redressing, as well as a self-contained 100,000 BTU hot-water system.

Hospitals participating in the decontamination exercise are:

  • Baptist Hospital East, Louisville
  • Baptist Hospital Northeast, LaGrange
  • Clark Memorial Hospital, Jeffersonville
  • Floyd Memorial Hospital, New Albany
  • Jewish Hospital, Louisville
  • Jewish Hospital, Shelbyville
  • Kosair Children’s Hospital
  • Norton Hospital, Louisville
  • Norton Audubon Hospital, Louisville
  • Norton Suburban Hospital, Louisville
  • Norton Southwest Medical Center, Louisville
  • Saints Mary & Elizabeth Hospital, Louisville
  • University of Louisville Hospital
  • Veterans’ Affairs Medical Center, Louisville

Other participating organizations include:

  • American Red Cross, Clark County
  • Bullitt County Health Department, Shepherdsville
  • Central State Hospital, Louisville
  • Clark County Health Department, Jeffersonville
  • Gateway Rehabilitation, Louisville
  • Kindred Hospital, Louisville
  • North Central Health District, Shelbyville
  • Oldham County Health Department, LaGrange
  • Our Lady of Peace, Louisville
  • Seven Counties, Louisville
  • Ten Broeck Hospital, Louisville