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Prince William Hospital Prepares for Sesquicentennial | Events

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Prince William Hospital Prepares for Sesquicentennial
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From Mary Beth Gibson:

MANASSAS, VA—Thousands of people are expected to visit Manassas and western Prince William County to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the First Battle of Manassas, July 21-July 24, and Prince William Hospital is preparing for a possible influx of patients who may require medical treatment during this four-day period at both its Manassas campus and at Heathcote Health Center in Haymarket.

Over the past several months, a hospital planning team has worked with city and county officials as well as the Regional Hospital Coordinating Center (RHCC) and the Prince William Health District to assess health and safety measures needed for these events. In addition to increasing staffing and supplies in both Manassas and Haymarket, Prince William Hospital will have on-call staff who will be available to treat patients, if needed.

“Our biggest concern is the health and safety of the people participating in these commemorative events,” said Stephen Smith, MD, medical director of the emergency services department at Prince William Hospital. “It is likely to be very hot and humid during the four-day period. Limiting exposure to the heat, staying in a cool environment and keeping well hydrated are the best ways to prevent falling ill from heat-related conditions.”

Prince William Hospital has given permission for a first aid and cooling and hydration tent to be placed on the grounds of the former Annaburg Manor nursing and rehabilitation facility during the parade in the City of Manassas on July 22. During the July 23 and July 24 reenactments, the hospital, in conjunction with the RHCC, is providing first aid supplies to three county EMS-staffed first aid tents, which will be onsite at Pageland Farm. In addition, the hospital is providing first aid supplies to the city EMS at five separate first aid tents, which will be located throughout the city of Manassas for the entire event.

Because many reenactors will be in period clothing, often wool, it is especially important that they drink enough fluids. The hospital expects heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke, to be most prevalent; however, they are also the most preventable.

“When someone arrives at the hospital who has been exposed to the heat for a long period of time, the first thing we do is check their vital signs and for dehydration,” said Smith. “We then have a provider examine them thoroughly to rule out any other serious issues. Those at the extremes of age, and those on certain medications, such as antidepressants or diuretics, need to be the most careful, for they are at a greater risk.”

            Visitors are advised to take advantage of the 20 tents that will be set up at Pageland Farm, which will provide a shady area for those watching the reenactment, and to hydrate often.

“Our hope is that this will be a safe and memorable event for all,” said John Williams, director of public safety at Prince William Hospital. “We are doing everything possible to ensure that both Prince William Hospital and Heathcote Health Center are prepared to care for every patient who needs medical attention.”

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