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30 March 2011, 12:38 | Updated: 30 March 2011, 12:56
Hospitals across the East of England are taking part in an exercise over the next couple of days to see how staff could cope with a chemical, biological or nuclear incident.
Over at Watford General this morning (Wednesday March 30th) nurses were kitted in decontamination suits and were hosing down volunteers who have become contaminated as part of Exercise Aquarius.
The exercise is part of an on-going training and development programme funded by the Department of Health and designed and led by the Health Protection Agency.
Sheena Gormley is the Emergency Planning Manager for West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust.
She’s been telling Heart that the training could, one day, be put to good use:
“We deal with hazardous chemicals every day. Chemicals are manufactured all around the country and are transported up and down the country. The likelihood of a chemical being spilt from a tanker is likely, so that is what we are dealing with today."
As two volunteers arrived to be hosed down Sheena’s talked us through what happens when a patient has become contaminated:
“The baby and the mother both have small chemical burns on them. They are being taken through the decontamination facility at the moment where they are being washed. They will then be covered up and taken through the triage point through A&E so their medical needs will then be assessed.”