Columbus Zoo holds exercise to prepare for emergencies

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH)– The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium held an emergency exercise on Tuesday to make sure their staff is prepared for potential emergency situations.

During the exercise, staff members practiced how to react in the event a venomous snake bit a zookeeper during a procedure.

“In the unlikely event that one of our staff were envenomed by a venomous snake that we know how to deal with it,” Warmolts said.

The zookeepers acted out the incident with a rubber snake and simulated a cobra snake getting medical care.

When the zookeeper is “bitten” others jumped into action. Staff members made sure the snake was contained, that the keeper was not left alone and that vital signs are continually being checked until EMS arrived and transported the zookeeper to the hospital. 

During the exercise, staff members also simulated medical treatment at the hospital.

Warren Yamarick, the medical director at the Liberty Township Fire Department and Riverside Emergency Department, said the exercise went smoothly.

“I think it went very well, the coordination with the zoo and the work that they’ve done with all the training in the past, they did a great job. (We) coordinated this with poison control because this is something we don’t do very often,” Yamarick said.

The Columbus Zoo said these exercises are critical so the staff knows what to do if an emergency were to happen, and the public feels safe.

“We want the public to understand and see what we’re doing and that we’re prepared for a wide range of emergencies,” said Doug Warmolts, vice president of animal care for the zoo.

He said they practiced anything from animal escapes, a human in an exhibit, and weather-related events. 

After the training, staff discussed the exercises and how they could be in improved in the future.

“I think the more training we can do will help because this is going to be a situation that you don’t deal with very often,” Yamarick said.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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