Rambam Hospital drills 'dirty bomb' attack

Scenario involves large explosion and dozens of casualties who turn out to have been exposed to radiation.

Gil Ronen ,

Dirty bomb drill at Rambam
Dirty bomb drill at Rambam
Pyotr Fliter

Rambam Hospital in Haifa held a drill Thursday which simulated the aftermath of a large explosion involving dozens of casualties. In the drill, after the casualties arrive at the hospital, it turns out that they have been exposed to radiation.

The large scale exercise was held by the Home Front Command together with the Health Ministry, and included dozens of Rambam staffers, as well as Magen David Adom forces, police and elements from the Haifa Municipality.

In case of a "dirty bomb" attack, in which radioactive materials are added to the explosive materials, the hospital sets up a large decontamination zone to deal with the radiation effects, along with the other injuries.

The hospital practiced setting up such a zone from scratch. X-ray teams and physicists from the hospital monitored radiation and used Geiger counters to detect any dangerous substances that could have contaminated patients and medical staff.

A site for protecting personnel from dangerous materials was also set up, and this is where they were to put on protective suits. A contaminated operating room was used. Other rooms were set aside for sorting the patients and for patients with light injuries and anxiety.

The blood bank and hospital laboratories were also put into action. Dangerous waste was removed from the decontamination zone and the entire hospital was decontaminated following the exercise.

Kobi Shir-Moskowitz of Rambam's Emergency Staff said that the hospital is prepared for any scenario.

"We sometimes rehearse various possible situations, so that we can be properly prepared in real time. Unfortunately, the scenario we drilled is very possible and could happen. We hope we never have to deal with a situation like this but if we are proven wrong, Rambam can certainly handle any situation."