Williams Olefins Explosion: LERN Communication Center Directs/Coordinates 77 Patients

On June 13, 2013, an explosion and large fire at the Williams Olefins plant in Geismer, Louisiana lead to the injury of many people working in the area. Acadian Ambulance immediately notified the LERN Communication Center (LCC) that they were responding with several ground and air ambulances. LERN instantly notified hospitals and emergency preparedness partners throughout the region of the incident. The ESF-8 Portal Messaging system was also used to alert other regions in the state to allow preparations for additional resources if needed.

The LCC then directed patients, many suffering burn injuries, to six different area hospitals. Most patients were kept inside of DHH Region 2. During this rapidly unfolding event, the LCC also engaged the Birmingham Regional Emergency Service System (BREMSS) to ready hospitals in the Southern Regional Disaster Burn Plan. BREMSS located burn beds throughout several states that were available if needed. After all patients were transported from the scene, the LCC served as a point of contact for family members looking for their loved ones.

The LERN team directed or coordinated the tracking of 77 patients from the explosion. LERN routinely participates in regional drills with our emergency response partners to prepare for such events. Those drills proved their value on June 13th.