Tulsa Firefighters Practice Hospital Evacuations

Friday, December 5th 2008, 5:13 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The Tulsa Fire Department did some training on Friday.  The goal was to have a common type of equipment at all the hospitals.  The stairwells at St John Medical Center were crowded with firefighters.  They were training with a new way to move patients downstairs in a hurry.  The old way was very low tech.

"We would just take them off the bed in a sheet and one at the head, one at the foot and depending on the manpower, we would just carry them down the stairs," said St. John's Safety Manager Marsha Goodson.

The new way is with this plastic box called a Paraslyde.  Patients are strapped into the box and firefighters slide them down the stairs.

"It's really a simple, easy to use, rapid to set up device that we can use to assist the hospital in evacuating patients," said Tulsa Fire Captain Michael Baker.

Even though the hospitals have bought the systems, it would be a really unusual situation for them to actually use them.  That's because taking patients down the stairs is a last resort.  Hospital hallways have fire doors, which in the event of fire, would close and block the fire from going down the hall.

St. John and the other high-rise Tulsa hospitals all bought Paraslydes so firefighters would have a common piece of equipment to train on and use.

"Since Katrina, the awareness of hospitals being able to evacuate, they want hospitals to think about this and have a plan," said St. John's Safety Manager Marsha Goodson.

The plan is to evacuate patients who can walk first, and then use the slide for the patients who can't.