NURSES at Armadale-Kelmscott Memorial Hospital have become reluctant heroes after safely evacuating 11 patients and putting out a fire that threatened their aged care rehabilitation ward last month.
Nurse Carol Reed denied that she’d done anything special.
“I don’t feel like a hero,” she said. “I just did my job – there were five other people there as well.”
It was 4.30am and the nurses were on night shift when the fire alarm was triggered by a fluorescent light which melted its plastic cover and fell burning onto the floor.
Ms Reed was the first to locate the fire.
“I basically went in, assessed it, ducked out, thought to myself, ‘can I put that out? Yeah I can.’ And then I did,” she said.
Nursing staff at the hospital have been trained to use fire extinguishers with refresher courses held annually.
Working in pairs the nurses evacuated the patients to another ward behind a fire door.
Ms Reed has been a nurse for 43 years and has worked across most areas including disability care, surgery and in a nursing home.
She began working at Armadale 12 years ago after her children left home.
“I wanted to get back to making a difference,” she said.
Ms Reed suffered smoke inhalation from battling the fire and spent over an hour in the emergency department on a ventolin.
“I had a sinus infection so that didn’t help with my breathing,” she said.
“At the time, with the adrenaline kicking in it was fine but when I got home and sat down I thought, my god, what did we just do?”