Emmett hospital reopened after being locked down for hazmat spill

Emmett hospital reopened after being locked down for hazmat spill

Emmett hospital reopened after being locked down for hazmat spill

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by KTVB.COM

NWCN.com

Posted on August 14, 2013 at 11:57 AM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 14 at 2:47 PM

EMMETT -- People and patients at Walter Knox Memorial Hospital were locked down inside the building after a hazmat spill was reported to Gem County authorities at around 9 a.m. on Wednesday.

County dispatch, and hospital spokeswoman Sue Vahlberg, said the report was of an undetermined amount of mercury that spilled at the maintenance shop behind the hospital.

Dispatch told KTVB the spill did test positive for something dangerous. Gem County's Emergency Medical Services Special Operations Unit and Hazmat team joined the city fire department in responding to the report.

Vahlberg said the lockdown, that was enforced at around 11 a.m., was to make sure there was no cross-contamination from the shop building into the hospital, by staff members or any other people.

The hospital reopened after the team finished their screenings around 1:30 p.m., and found there had been no cross-contamination between buildings.

While the building was locked down, the hospital staff screened incoming patients outside of the front doors in an outdoor triage center.

At the time, Vahlberg said incoming patients would wait outside until the contamination team was finished, if they didn't have too serious of ailments or injuries. Also, no one was allowed to leave the hospital unless they were approved to go by the contamination team.

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