Jul 29, 2014

Road Salt Sparks Hazmat Situation, Shuts Down Emerson ER (VIDEO)

The emergency room at Emerson Hospital was shut down for more than three hours Saturday night after a Stow woman walked into the emergency department with a medical condition possibly caused by the substance.

A hazmat situation arose at Emerson Hospital’s emergency department on Saturday night after a Stow woman showed up there presenting an illness and was decontaminated due to a white, potentially hazardous material later identified as road salt.

The ER was shut down for several hours the evening of Nov. 17 as emergency responders and a hazmat team secured the potentially contaminated areas. Eventually, six individuals—the woman, a person who showed up with the patient and four others—were decontaminated, according to a hospital spokesperson and Concord Fire Chief Mark Cotreau, who briefed media assembled at the scene.

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The Concord Fire and Police departments were called to the scene just after 5 p.m., and just after 8:30 p.m., Bonnie Kaplan Goldsmith, Emerson’s senior director or public affairs, marketing and communications, issued a statement identifying the substance and announcing that the ER had been reopened.

“An analysis of the potentially contaminated substance identified it as road salt, which can cause burning on the skin,” Goldsmith’s statement said. “Because of the way the patient presented and reported to hospital staff, we were advised by local authorities to follow best practice in a potential Haz-Mat situation. The walk-in triage department in the Emergency Department is now open and we will shortly be accepting ambulances and taking the hospital off divert status. “

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