Emergency crews simulate mass casualty incidents

Organisers of a multi-sector mass casualty management programme at UCCI say they will be better prepared to respond to all types of disasters because of the experience.

The training, which brings together many of the agencies involved in disaster management, was organised by the Pan American Health Organisation, the Health Services Authority and the Hazard Management Agency.

Emergency Medical Services and the HSA said it was necessary to collaborate with other emergency service providers to understand what their resources are and to improve the capability of those organisations to work together, explained EMS Manager Stephen Duval.

Among the 40 people taking part in the week-long programme were representatives of the HSA, the EMS, Fire Services, the RCIPS, the Immigration Department, Prison Services, medical staff from Cayman Brac and the Red Cross.

Subjects included: the alerting process; scene assessment and reporting; field organisation; first triage; second triage and the Advanced Medical Post; overview of the incident command system; planning for mass casualty incidents; third triage, evacuation, transport; hospital reception; overview of radio communications; overview of stress management in disasters; and terrorism and the concept of a dirty bomb.

Mr. Duval said practical exercises have touched on all forms of mass-casualty management, including bus crashes, plane crashes, cruise ship incidents and hurricane scenarios.

‘The practical aspect is very … dynamic. There are portions of the incident command, there are portions of the transport (of patients), the medical team, the fire, the police; they all have roles and it is very important to play that out practically, to see the applications.’

Another major field exercise is planned for Saturday night.

Although communication is said to be a key component of the training, Government Information Services – the agency responsible for disseminating information in hurricanes and other natural disasters – did not participate in the training.

Mr. Duval said he hopes the training becomes a regular event that can take in more participants in the future.

‘It allows us to assess our contingency plans as a health service and to blend our resources where required.’