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Two hospitals receive government grants

June 04, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Two area hospitals have received grants from the Department of Homeland Security for decontamination chambers that could be used in the event of a chemical or biological weapons attack.

Washington County Hospital received a grant of $103,540 to pay for three decontamination tents and equipment, spokeswoman Kelly Redmond said.

City Hospital in Martinsburg, W.Va., received one decontamination tent valued at about $30,000, spokeswoman Teresa McCabe said.

Redmond said Washington County Hospital's proximity to Camp David and Site R probably helped it get the grant money.

Site R is an underground military command center in southcentral Pennsylvania.

Randy Spies, Washington County Hospital emergency services resources supervisor, said the hospital has a small decontamination room near the emergency room. But the equipment will help the hospital be better prepared in the event of a chemical or biological weapons attacks, or other related problems, he said.

Washington County Hospital also received a grant of $153,000 from the Department of Homeland Security for radio communication equipment that would be used to communicate with emergency providers, Redmond said.

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While the hospital was the agency requesting the radio equipment money it is partnering on the grant with the Washington County Department of Emergency Services, Washington County Health Department, Hagerstown Regional Airport, Brook Lane Health Services and Western Maryland Hospital Center, she said.

The radio equipment would enable managers of the different agencies to communicate during emergencies, said Jim Eberhart, chairman of the hospital's Emergency Management Committee.Such a form of communication would be needed should phone systems fail during a disaster, as occurred during the Sept. 11 attacks, he said.

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