Southeastern Regional Students Assist in Evacuation of Patients During 10-Alarm Fire at Brockton Hospital

Southeastern Regional Students Assist in Evacuation of Patients During 10-Alarm Fire at Brockton Hospital

Four students in the Nurse Assisting vocational program at Southeastern Regional put their skills to use assisting in the evacuation of patients during a 10-alarm fire at Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital last month.

Nurse Assisting seniors Khalia Darosa, Trinity Stinson Salmon, Syleena Marrero and Abby Mathieu of Brockton, co-op students who are employed at the hospital, were working their routine shifts on Feb. 7 when an electrical fire started in the building.

On the day of the fire, Salmon and Marrero were working in the orthopedic unit at Brockton Hospital, located on the third floor, when the first fire alarm sounded around 8 a.m. The hospital subsequently lost power.

For the next several hours, Salmon and Marrero worked together to help patients. They took and recorded patients’ vitals by the light of a flashlight, and assisted with evacuation by helping patients to the end of their unit’s wing, where firefighters waited to evacuate them from the building. Nursing staff marked the rooms as they went door-to-door ensuring all patients had been evacuated.

Mathieu and Darosa were working in the telemetry unit, located on the fifth floor, at the time of the fire alarm. They spent the following hours evaluating patients’ oxygen levels, as well as helping get patients and their equipment down the stairs and out of the hospital.

The students recalled feeling some anxiety and stress, especially when attempting to explain the situation to patients. Language barriers between the students and patients added some complications, however, Mathieu’s understanding of Haitian Creole and Darosa’s understanding of Cape Verdean Creole aided in the evacuation process. Overall, the students said their main concern was helping to get their patients out.

In total, the students’ assistance contributed to the successful evacuation of 176 patients, the discharge of 38 patients and transport of 138 patients to other area facilities without incident or injury.

“When faced with a difficult situation, these four students relied on their skills and training and jumped into action to help others,” Principal Leslie Weckesser said. “Their care for others really showed that day, and we are so incredibly proud of the professionalism and selflessness they demonstrated.”

Mathieu and Darosa, motivated by the experience, plan to pursue careers in nursing. Marrero plans to pursue a career in biotechnology or pre-med and Salmon has chosen to pursue a career in biotechnology.

Brockton Hospital remains closed with no emergency services.

Darosa, Salmon, Marrero and Mathieu are now working with Southeastern’s vocational supervisors to find new co-op placements. They are all certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and hold certifications in home health aid, CPR and first aid, and long-term care. They are also Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) certified.

Southeastern co-ops are trained employees who meet the required career and technical competencies in accordance with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education vocational frameworks in their field of study and have the necessary industry-recognized credentials for their jobs. Students are eligible for co-op halfway through their junior year. Southeastern currently has 306 students working on cooperative education.

Employers looking to hire students for co-op placements in any technical field can email and Southeastern will connect with the employers to discuss their needs.

From left: Nurse Assisting vocational program seniors Trinity Stinson Salmon, Syleena Marrero, Abby Mathieu and Khalia Darosa. (Photo Courtesy Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School)

Madelyn Hedges, John Guilfoil Public Relations LLC