Originally created 02/23/03

Hazard training classes draw health providers



A day after major medical emergencies happened in New York City and in Rhode Island, a group of health providers were in Augusta learning new methods of treating victims in hazardous situations.

On Saturday, about 60 emergency health care professionals attended classes at Medical College of Georgia Hospital.

The event addressed proper ways to treat patients suffering from chemical poisoning, irritant gases and hazardous materials, which could pose health threats similar to Friday's explosion at a Staten Island oil depot.

Dr. Phillip Coule, the associate director of MCG's center of operational medicine, discussed the ways to identify and treat patients exposed to chemical agents such as ammonia, hydrochloric acid and hydroxide.

"We're showing how to recognize symptoms and identify when a person has been exposed; how to manage and treat (symptoms) appropriately," Dr. Coule said. "We identify the agent, and based on the symptoms, try to reverse (the damages)," he said.

The training is not a knee-jerk reaction to the Sept. 11 attacks, he said.

"Before then, a group of us had already planned to become (hazardous materials) instructors," Dr. Coule said.

The seminar was administered by MCG's department of emergency medicine and the University of Arizona. The curriculum was designed by the Advanced Hazmat Life Support group.

Training started Friday and ends today. The participants, from 16 states, included nurses, physicians, paramedics, military personnel and industrial hygienists.

Reach Timothy Cox at (706) 823-3217 or tim.cox@augustachronicle.com.