Brunswick County EMS prepares for emerging diseases

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY)– Brunswick County is making sure they are prepared for emerging diseases.
Today, several agencies came together to make sure they know what to do if an outbreak happens. This simulation was for ebola.

It’s all just a simulation Brunswick County emergency services director Brian Watts says the Sheriff’s office, the fire marshal, emergency management, New Hanover Regional Medical Center, Brunswick Novant Medical Center and health and human services have been working on for months.

“In fact, we’ve been having a weekly meeting about how we would handle a call such as this,” Watts said.

In this case, that phone call is about ebola. A father calls 911 about his son’s symptoms.

“He’s been throwing up and nauseous and has diarrhea,” the father told the 911 operator.

Then the emergency disease response team arrived and geared up. Watts says they take the time to make sure everyone is dressed properly, as it is one of the most critical parts.

“It’s life or death anytime you’re dealing with a hazardous substance, whether its an emerging infectious disease or whether it’s a chemical at a hazmat incident,” Watts said.

While the team gets the patient and takes him to the hospital, the director of Brunswick County Health and Human Services David Stanley says they step in as the investigative arm.

“We’re working with the actual contacts of that patient in the interim,” Stanley said. “If there are certain measures that we need to put in place to ensure other people don’t become infected or sick, that’s what we make sure happens.”

It’s a simulation Watts says they practice now, so when they need later it works.

“That’s what today’s all about is being able to find what works, find what doesn’t work and change the plan to make it work,” Watts said.

Watts says this emerging disease response team is brand new for the county, but since they are near a nuclear plant they already had all of the gear they needed.

Categories: Brunswick