Two flight medics, a patient, and two emergency room workers were involved in a hazmat situation in San Jose:
Firefighters say they were called to a Georgia Chiala Farms production facility, late Tuesday night. A worker had chemicals splashed on him. He was decontaminated there and put on a medical helicopter to San Jose. But during the flight some crew members reported having respiratory issues and itchy faces while treating the patient. When they landed they became patients as well.
Valley Medical Center started their decontamination protocol and called San Jose Fire to help out. Two flight crew members from the medical helicopter and two emergency department staff were being decontaminated in a parking lot.
The key to this came later:
“Decontamination is one of those things that we regularly train our emergency department staff on and they’re well prepared to handle these kinds of situations,” said Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Spokesperson Joy Alexiou.
It sounds like a throwaway line, but it’s not. VPC’s Hazardous Material training courses come in a refresher, one, and two-day classes. In each class, participants are prepared for new procedures and practices. New chemicals and mixes can make treatment challenging, like in this San Jose incident. Responders have to know how to treat an area, the people in and around it, and understand the science.