LEWISBURG — Experts in preparedness worked to be even more prepared Wednesday.

Evangelical Community Hospital and the Hospital Association of Pennsylvania hosted a training session so that providers know what to do in case of an outbreak of a highly infectious disease.

Ebola and measles were mentioned as diseases to be ready for.

Matt Exley EMT, emergency preparedness coordinator for the hospital, said the program would prep providers for all diseases not seen on a regular basis.

“From Ebola to MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) to SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome),” he said. “Thankfully we don’t see those too often but we want to prepared in case we do.”

The class was unique, Exley said, in that the students stayed in personal protective equipment for the rest of the day and practiced procedures.

“It’s one thing to draw blood. It is another thing to draw blood with a full chemical suit on with respirator and gloves,” Exley said. “It helps them become more proficient in doing the things we don’t do too often.”

Practice areas were set up in the Evangelical basement with stations where “blood” was drawn from life-like arms. Participants also trained with an isolation pod, a container which allows patients to be transported out of the facility without exposing people to pathogens.

Exley said environmental services personnel are usually in charge of cleaning rooms where there have been spills. But in cases of highly infectious disease, providers in special gear were training in cleanup to limit the number of people exposed.

Participants also included emergency managers, Department of Justice employees and others who just wanted to get more information.

The program was funded by a federal grant stemming from a 2015 ebola outbreak.

Staff writer Matt Farrand can be reached at 570-742-9671 and via email at matt@standard-journal.com.

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