emsambo_sm.jpgLast week’s MedicCast Live on special event EMS preparations left me with quite a few impressions.  I thought it would be a good idea to recount them here and invite the other listeners to chime in with their own opinions and comments.

EMS Special Event Pre-planning

The number one lesson learned from our special guests on the show was that special event pre-plans are key factors in the successful provision of adequate and safe medical coverage.  Alan Thompson, Assistant Director of Cabarrus County, NC EMS plans for multiple major events that bring hundreds of thousands of NASCAR spectators to the area.  He cites the event pre-planning as the most important step.

Pre-planning starts with gathering emergency response stake holders to the table.  This includes local law enforcement, the event planners, and local hospitals.  It may also include federal authorities like the FBI, and Homeland Security as well as state agencies like the highway patrol, department of transportation, health department.

After identifying those agencies and businesses needed to assist with holding a successful event and provide for emergency response, the next step in the planning process is to contact other jurisdictions that have held similar events and find out what has worked worked for them. Ask for planning templates to use as starting points.  Cabarrus County EMS, NC has some and you can also find and download templates from the San Francisco Fire Department site here that cover the planning process from start to finish.

Planning for an upcoming event continues with training.  Crews who will be working the event should be given an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the venue and the operations plan for their part of the process.  Crews need to know what their responsibilities are.  For instance:

  • Do they transport or just triage and treat?
  • Whom do they report to?
  • What is the communication protocol?
  • Which radio channels are to be used?
  • With which other agencies will they interact?
  • What is the command structure?
  • Will there be a medical director on site?
  • What is the expected call volume?
  • What types of injuries/illnesses are expected?

The EMS Special Event In Action!

Just because the event has started doesn’t mean that planning is finished.  Supervisors and organizers should be keeping a running tally of what is and isn’t working.  As they make their rounds, check in with crews about their areas and ask questions about impressions.  The planning for the next even begins during the current event.  Look at the list of questions above and ask them again with an eye towards how things might be changed.  Of course, do all of this while managing the current event and unforeseen challenges.

Finally, planning cannot be complete without a thorough and complete debriefing.  Optimally, the debrief meeting for the stakeholders and event planners should be set up ahead of time during the initial planning.  Everyone should be expected to participate in some form of debriefing.  This might include using evaluations turned in by crews, web conference meetups, conference calls, and traditional face to face meetings.

If you haven’t already done so, check out the recording from that live panel discussion here.

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