Sarasota Memorial Hospital holds mock explosion drill

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SARASOTA - Sarasota Memorial Hospital was overrun with first responders Friday, but it was only a drill, as emergency operations officials prepared themselves for what might happen if a hyperbaric chamber were to explode.

The mock violent explosion at Sarasota Memorial Hospital resulted in four fatalities, many injuries and major damage to the hospital.

The scene was straight out of a movie with gurneys, doctors and the injured filling the halls. The wounds included third degree burns, impalements and amputations, but no one suffered because it's all part of a drill to test emergency operations in Sarasota County.

“They came in and did Hollywood style special effects and moulage and the firefighters and ER got saw some realistic severe injuries that they wouldn’t see on a daily basis,” says Mickey Watson, Chief of Public Safety, Sarasota County Public Hospital District.

Watson said that it was a mere coincidence that so many of the injuries were similar to what we had seen in Boston.

“This drill was already set up and planned ahead of time but they did decide to change it up a bit and make it hyperbaric chamber in response to what happened up in Ocala," says Captain Susan Pearson, Sarasota Fire Dept.

Friday’s scenario is unlikely, but the Ocala explosion caused by a hyperbaric chamber resulted in a fatality, an injury and killed a horse.

The HBOT chambers used to treat wounds, burns and infections are showing up in hospitals more frequently here on the Suncoast.