Hospital staff were quick to jump under their desks during yesterday's national earthquake drill but the exercise did not go quite as smoothly as hoped.
At 9.26am yesterday Tauranga Hospital staff joined 1.3 million people around the country in dropping, covering and holding to simulate the correct response to an earthquake.
The national earthquake drill prompted the Tauranga Hospital to carry out a full evacuation of some wards to test fire procedures so at 10.15am a fire drill was sprung on patients and staff in ward 3A.
It started off well with staff gathering to be briefed before quickly dispersing to help all able-bodied patients out the fire exit and down the outside stairs.
Patients with more serious conditions were left in the ward so as not to jeopardise their health for the purpose of a drill.
The hiccup came when a nurse was strapped to a bed and wheeled to the door only to find the second emergency exit door could not be opened to make the exit wide enough for the bed.
Staff quickly improvised and carried her out.
Maintenance staff were alerted and were there to fix the door before the drill had even been completed.
Tauranga Hospital general manager of property services Jeff Hodson said the problem was that the knob broke off the pin that locked the door at the bottom.
He said the six trial evacuations carried out went according to plan apart from the one mechanical failure.
"If it had been an emergency and there had been a fire raging behind you, you would have put your shoulder to the door and barged it open," he said.
Identifying issues like that was exactly why drills were carried out, he said.
During the past six months all nurses and orderlies, including casual staff, were fully trained on what to do in the event of an emergency and responded accordingly, Mr Hodson said.
It was the first time patients had been evacuated from Tauranga Hospital as part of a drill.
"We're absolutely pleased with the success of it."
Operations manager and organiser of Shakeout for the Bay of Plenty District Health Board Stuart Taylor said the earthquake drill was a success and a worthwhile exercise.
All district health board staff were educated about the correct response in the eight weeks before the exercise, he said.
"It encourages staff to be prepared for not just earthquakes but any emergency because we recognise we face a number of threats in the Bay of Plenty," Mr Taylor said. "It's really important for our staff to be prepared at home and be prepared at work and know what to do so they can help themselves and help the patients because in times of disaster hospitals are a very busy place."