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San Dimas Community Hospital Trains Staff as First Receiver Operations to Enhance Community Safety

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In May 2014, 128 employees of Prime Healthcare's Inland Empire hospitals, including San Dimas Community Hospital, Chino Valley Medical Center, Montclair Hospital Medical Center and Desert Valley Hospital, were officially certified as First Receiver Operations (FRO) with the state of California, which took each person 16 total training hours to complete.

With the safety and protection of the community as its number one priority, PHS Emergency Preparedness Department has implemented a program and a designated decontamination team for each hospital. The team includes nurses, technicians, engineers, house keepers and non-clinical employees who all volunteer to be a part of this effort. They help determine best practices and action required during earthquakes, fires, floods, terrorist attacks, Haz Mat incidents and more. Prime Healthcare Services' Inland region decontamination teams are certified as FRO. Although FROs have the same roles and responsibilities of decontamination team members, the level of training, knowledge and backing of the state ensures the highest level of education, credibility and compliance in order to carry out their duties.

The team leader and Emergency Preparedness Program Manager for San Dimas Community Hospital, Cambria Boyer, worked with SDCH's sister facilities Montclair Hospital Medical Center, Chino Valley Medical Center and Desert Valley Hospital on getting several employees certified as First Receiver Operations with the state of California. Cambria was assisted by fellow co-worker Emergency Preparedness Coordinetor, Brian Lugo, in conducting this two week regional training where all four hospitals sent a few employees to become certified and/or to "refresh" their certification. "As sister facilities we rely on each other and will be called upon to assist in an emergency/disaster," says Cambria Boyer. "Therefore it is crucial that we are all given the same level of training and certification. The well-being and safety of our patients and communities are our main priority." As an added bonus, FEMA instructor Rick Bearden was flown out to aid in the certification. With over 30 years of experience, Rick teaches Haz Mat for several different agencies including the Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, Alabama. By the end of the two week training program, these three individuals have both refreshed and added members to four Prime Healthcare decontamination teams.

In the state of California, Hospitals are required to have a decontamination plan and team but those on the team are not required to be FRO certified. Prime Healthcare's Inland Region takes it one step further by certifying their teams as FRO while other hospitals may not do so. In order to become a certified First Receiver Operations with the state, students must meet a minimum attendance of 16 hours while accomplishing all objectives and participating in the training exercise. Also, they must pass the CA Specialized Training Institute (CSTI) First Receiver Operations and Decontamination for Health Care written exam with a minimum score of seventy percent. The First Receiver Operations and Decontamination for Health Care course includes guidance on how to recognize, react and respond to a Haz Mat incident as well as several training exercises.

We at Prime Healthcare Services are proud of our decontamination team and the commitment and dedication they have demonstrated to each other and our community. Thank you for your service!