Crash at MRI facility offers reminder of unique safety challenges

In December 2014, a tanker truck plowed through the walls of an outpatient imaging center in Cumberland County, Pa., and the center’s MRI unit created a challenge for rescuers.

Tragically, the driver was killed in the accident, but firefighters attempting to reach the driver and search for any other possible victims were stopped in their tracks when they entered a badly damaged MRI suite. Despite power being out at the facility, the MRI was magnetized and pulled an axe/crowbar tool from the hands of one of the firefighters, creating a dangerous flying projectile. With the damage to the unit, emergency controls were inoperable.

The incident was detailed in Fire Engineering magazine, and while that article was meant to offer an education for emergency personnel on how to handle incidents at MRI facilities, the case could also be seen as a reminder for imaging providers to reassess their own safety and emergency protocols.

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