The Johns Hopkins Lifeline Special Operations Response Team (SORT) and the Johns Hopkins Biocontainment Unit recently conducted a joint exercise in the Jefferson Street loading dock. The exercise was in collaboration with the Saint Francis Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Infectious Disease Transport Team and the Cecil County Emergency Services Hazardous Materials Team. Titled Operation Santa’s Sleigh, this drill involved the safe isolation, transport and receipt of two simulated persons under investigation for admission to the Johns Hopkins BCU. The goal of the exercise was to simulate patient handoff between Lifeline SORT and external EMS agency partners. In addition to the transport logistics involving two patients, the exercise also allowed participants to utilize protocols for personal protective equipment (PPE) donning and doffing, waste management and decontamination of durable medical equipment and vehicles. According to Chad Bowman, team coordinator for the JHH Lifeline SORT, “this was an excellent opportunity to work with our colleagues from Cecil County Emergency Services and Saint Francis EMS as we continue on-going preparedness efforts to safely transport and receive patient(s) with a suspected or confirmed high consequence pathogen.”

This month, we also had the pleasure of partnering with Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to host an Enhanced Precautions Unit Training Session. Trainers from the Johns Hopkins BCU worked with healthcare workers on the processes of donning and doffing PPE as well as clinical skills while in the equipment such as waste management and blood draws. Overall, the session was a great success and provide an opportunity to discuss and workshop the unique considerations when work with patients who are under suspicion of a high consequence pathogen. We look forward to continuing to work with Walter Reed into the future as the continue to strengthen their emerging infectious disease preparedness.

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