Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The “Mass-Casualty Incident”: Bringing Organization to Chaos


Crews have been dispatched to a vehicle accident on the freeway. While en route law enforcement advises them that a bus has rolled off of the freeway and they have multiple victims with some trapped. This was the scenario crews faced during a recent drill at the Viejas Outlet Center. The drill was recently coordinated by the Viejas Fire Department as part of an inter-agency training that involves first-responders in the east county region of San Diego County.

The crew from Lakeside Rescue 3, and CALFIRE, start working on a plan to remove a victim from under the bus.
Mass-causality incidents present one of the most challenging scenes that first-responders can be faced with. Not only do you have the challenge of organizing a highly traumatic scene, but you must sort through the patients and identify those most in need of help....quickly. The benchmark of an effectively managed incident is the delivery of the most severely injured to local hospitals in the shortest possible span of time. Ultimately surgical intervention is the only thing that will save these traumatized victims, thus a real effort must be made to get those people transported to appropriate care.

Victims are brought to treatment areas where the received care prior to transport to the hospital.

Victims are sent to local hospitals from the treatment areas based on severity of their injuries.
In this scenario crews were also faced with a victim that was ejected from the bus and then became trapped. Lakeside Rescue 3 was given the assignment to remove the victim with the assistance of an engine company from CALFIRE. A pneumatic system of high pressure airbags was used to lift the vehicle off of the victim.

Crew members are critiqued by observers. Everybody learns something new.
The skills re-enforced at this drill are universal to any incident that involves several casualties that has the potential to overwhelm local first-responders, or the local hospitals. In this drill a total of 22 patients were evaluated.

Agencies participating in this training were:

Alpine Fire Protection District
American Medical Response
Barona Fire Department
Lakeside Fire Protection District
Mercy Air
Sharp-Grossmont Hospital
Sycuan Fire Department
Viejas Fire Department
Viejas Tribal Security

Thanks again to the Viejas Fire Department for sponsoring this training opportunity.

Submitted By: Fire Captain Mark Grow, Lakeside Fire Protection District

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