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Local hospital employee recognized for teaching

Health: Disaster planner receives award for hazardous-materials education

Posted: September 28, 2010 7:41 p.m.
Updated: September 29, 2010 6:00 a.m.

A disaster planner at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital became the first and only hospital employee in the nation to receive an award for innovative teaching regarding hazardous materials, officials announced Monday.

Robert Hill received the 2010 James H. Meidl Instructor of the Year Award this month.

“It’s very rewarding,” Hill said Monday. “It was a really awesome feeling when I walked into the room and saw my name on a huge banner that’s going to be there the rest of my life.” Hill is also the youngest instructor to receive the award.

Hill received the award in Sacramento during a Continuing Challenge Hazardous Materials Emergency Response workshop Sept. 7.

Hill, who has been at the local hospital for 10 years, credited his unique training to his previous three-year stint as a firefighter for the Mariposa County Fire Department.

“I came from both the hospital side and the fire side, so I know a lot about the fire departments procedures when it comes to (hazardous material) situations,” Hill said. “I incorporated both sides so everyone knows what to expect when the real deal happens.”

Hospitals are unique when it comes to hazardous materials as they receive victims of chemical spills, and need to be able to recognize chemical exposures and how to care for those victims while protecting others.

For the past 3 years, Hill has guided the hospital’s education, training and exercise programs for hazardous materials as the hospital’s disaster planner and trauma-surge coordinator.

Through Hill’s initiative, the hospital has trained nearly 100 people in multiple levels of hazardous-materials response.

“It’s a huge accomplishment for Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital,” Hill said, especially since the nearest hospitals are Mission Hills, 12 miles away or Lancaster, nearly 45 miles away by road. “Because the hospital is so secluded, it’s a good thing we have people that are trained on site and have a facility that’s so prepared in (hazardous materials).”

Hill received the American Red Cross Hometown Hero award for administering CPR to a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy at the scene of his fatal motorcycle crash earlier this month and also used vacation time to travel to Calexico in April to help victims of an earthquake.


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