Thursday, January 04, 2007

NYC's New Decontamination Central

According to an article in the New York Sun, NYC's Downtown Hospital just opened a large, advanced decontamination station, capable of treating 500-1000 patients per hour (compared to 20 patients per hour in the hospital's old decon unit):

Because water is the single greatest antidote to contamination, according to Dr. Najer, the hospital installed 25 high-power showerheads that jut down from the roof of the semi-outdoor enclosure.

The shower water is warmed by a 1,000-gallon tank that is separate from the hospital's water supply, ensuring a constant supply of heated water. Gas-powered heaters are scattered along the roof of the facility.

The unit also has several outlets that can pump "medical air" into the self-contained suits that physicians wear while treating contaminated patients.

"It's arguably the most technologically advanced decontamination unit in the world," Dr. Antonio Najer said.
This is good preparedness, at a relatively inexpensive cost of about $1 million. And it's not just NYC that could use one of these things. Any community that's near a chemical plant, a port, a nuclear power facility, etc., could benefit from a large decon station like this. In any major situation, you've got to get people cleaned up quickly. And, in a nod to hospital administrators, you can find other uses for it as well:
The unit has other functions as well, according to the hospital's assistant vice president of public affairs and marketing, Vanessa Warner. In the case of plane crash, it could be used to clean hazardous jet fuels off of victims, and it could double as a car wash for ambulances.

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