By Chonglu Huang
Whether it’s an overheating electrical device, a worn out wire or a stove left unattended – a fire can occur from many unforeseen circumstances. That is why it is extremely important to be aware of your surroundings and know how to respond.
At Providence Care’s long-term care facility #Providence Manor in Kingston, the Incident Management Planning Committee takes the lead in making sure that the home is safe and that everyone is well-informed of all safety procedures.
On November 1, 2012, Providence Manor conducted a mock “#Code Green” (evacuation) exercise involving frontline staff, security personnel and students who role-played as residents. The organizers of the exercise also invited observers from the Kingston Fire Department, and representatives of the residents and their families.
Everyone gave their full support to the initiative. Most notable were several residents of a third floor wing at Providence Manor, who graciously lent their rooms to the exercise. This allowed the mock scenario to be as true to real life as possible.
“When it comes to fires, there have been a lot of things for me over my lifetime,” said Raymond Feeley, one of the residents. “I had the loss of a home and a business from fire. It had serious effects – we lost everything. It sure is very dangerous and thus it is very important to be prepared.”
“You have to know where the doors are and know where to go and respond immediately,” added another resident, Joyce Dudley. “I support this exercise because I want to know that, should anything happen, there are procedures in place.”
The mock scenario played out as a fire (Code Red) in a resident’s room on the third floor that spreads beyond the area and requires an evacuation (Code Green) of that wing. Over 20 local high school students from LaSalle Secondary School in Kingston participated in the exercise by acting as residents. Some even dyed their hair grey to help them get into character. During the exercise, they role-played as ambulatory, semi-ambulatory or non-ambulatory residents so that various evacuation procedures and devices can be tested.
One of the devices tested were newly-purchased Med Sleds – these are designed exclusively for emergency situations during which clinical staff need to move patients or residents who are unable to walk. For Providence Manor’s evacuation exercise, Med Sleds were used to move eight non-ambulatory residents – played by students – horizontally (into adjacent wings) and vertically (down several flights of stairs).
Exceeding expectations, the nursing staff at Providence Manor took just 12 minutes to move all 24 residents (ranging from ambulatory to non-ambulatory) out of the area of the mock fire – a tremendous achievement.
“This certainly proved to me how valuable these Med Sleds will be should such an emergency actually occur,” said Jordan Pike, Coordinator of Emergency Management and one of the organizers of the exercise. “One of the best outcomes from the exercise was seeing the timeline involved with an evacuation of this. The observers and I were thoroughly impressed with how quickly the staff worked to get everyone in danger out of the hazard area.”
Chonglu Huang is a Communications Officer, Digital Media Specialist at Providence Ca