Crisp County follows strict protocol after chemical leak
An early morning chemical spill at the Drexel Chemical Company caused EMS responders in the area to put their response and decontamination protocol into action.
Crisp County Fire Department dispatched one truck to the scene to provide assistance and stayed on the scene until 4 a.m. to make sure the plant's employees were okay while they cleaned the spill.
Chief Ray Lunsford with CCFD says once workers got the excess chemical off the ground, they used a clay-based oil dry to soak up the remaining liquid.
Across town at the Crisp Regional Hospital, staff was making preparations of their own to possibly receive patients.
Danny Greene, director of Facilities Management and Engineering says he was called in as part of a two-man team to set up a decontamination station at the hospital. Greene says although they didn't receive any people who came in contact with the chemical, you should prepare for the worst since you don't know what you're going to get.
If a contaminated person was to come through, Greene says they would be sprayed with a powerful 4-inch hose that can dilute even the most dangerous chemical.
Inside the emergency room, nurses were preparing for any patient that would come in with a reaction to the chemical, which they say is a respiratory irritant. They also were waiting to call on any more additional staff as needed.
In these situations, nurse Tabitha Riggian says you need to have all respiratory equipment and medicine available to treat possible victims. Riggian says two patients were seen last night, one with respiratory issues, one with nausea and vomiting. Both were monitored for a few hours before they were released.
Riggian said their condition wasn't serious but adds it's important to take all possible precaution because chemical inhalation can lead to a slowed heart rate, respiratory issues, vomiting, and if the symptoms are bad enough, could cause a patient to be attached to a ventilator.
Although the spill was cleared by Wednesday morning, officials say it took a lot longer to clear all of the questions and panic it caused in the public.