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Firefighters work with hospital staff for disaster response training

PEC-fire-emergency-training
Prince Edward County firefighters were called to Picton’s hospital Tuesday night to participate in a mock disaster, training run-through involving the scenario of a helicopter crash at the helipad.

Division 1 Commander Rob Manlow maintaining communication with the firefigthers

Division 1 Commander Rob Manlow maintaining communication with the firefigthers

Fire Prevention Officer Mike Branscombe and Division 1 Commander Rob Manlow executed the the training and answered questions of QHC nursing staff tasked with making decisions in the event of an emergency.

“It’s awareness for everyone on the procedures necessary for a fire safety and emergency plan,” said Branscombe. “If a chopper fails on approach to here, where’s it going? It could land here, and nearby there’s a church, buildings, daycare and there’s a creek that connects to the bay and our water supply. It’s all pre-planning work, strategy, and thinking about everything that could be involved in this kind of scenario.”

Staff of Picton hospital met first in the boardroom with QHC’s emergency preparedness co-ordinator Shari Fish and Dave Pym, manger of security services; Branscombe, Manlow and PEC Fire Chief Scott Manlow.

It was there they learned the importance of the pull station a fire alarms as well as making the 911 call.

Fire Prevention Officer Mike Branscombe speaking to QHC staff about the importance of the fire alarm system.

Fire Prevention Officer Mike Branscombe speaking to QHC staff about the importance of the fire alarm system.

Sophisticated sensors in the ducts are designed to automatically shut down the heating and air-conditioning system if smoke is detected inside the hospital. If smoke is on the outside, near the intake valves on the roof, pulling the fire alarms will shut down the intakes to stop them from sucking in the smoke.

Following many questions from the hospital staff, Chief Manlow assured them to “trust their gut” and never worry about being a hero.

“When the hair stands up on the back of your neck, you have to listen to your gut no matter how many years of training you have. If you’re not comfortable with something, you tell somebody and you go to the next step. That’s what this is all about.

“Everybody has limited staff and are looking at ‘what can we do, what can’t we do’… That’s why we do these exercises to know how to work together.”

Several on-scene emergency training sessions are held throughout the year. Businesses and individuals wanting more information on fire safety can contact Branscombe at at the fire department 613-476-2345 or by email at mbranscombe@pecounty.on.ca

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