I want to bring to your attention the concept of All Hazards Planning and preparedness for major events like the one in Boston on April 15th. Many individuals, paid and volunteer responders were in attendance expecting a large community event with all of the common medical and minor traumas that go along with it. Instead, in the space of a few moments, they had a major mass casualty incident with many multi-system trauma patients.
All Communities Have Large Gatherings & Events
How a responder deals with this sudden change is a reflection of their training and the planning that has gone into the event well before anyone began running a marathon. Every community has large events of one sort or another. It may not be on the scale of something like the Boston Marathon but for your community it may seem just as large.
I know in my community we have regular events including parades, festivals and fairs. We have several large community organizations that hold regular meetings like local churches and civic organizations. All of these are potential soft targets for a person intent on doing a large number of people harm. Add in the potential for natural disasters that vary from time to time and pre-planning for events like this may seem all but impossible.
Preparedness is Easier Than You Think
I assure you that while it may be complex, it is easier than it seems. Many events have similar response modalities. It doesn’t matter if the explosion is from a man-made device as in Boston or a freak accident like what happened in West, Texas, the injuries you expect will be similar. The same is true of collapsed buildings related to a natural disaster. It doesn’t matter if the building collapsed from a tornado or an earthquake, a crush injury is a crush injury.
So you see that all hazards planning is complex but not impossible to do. The other point here, as has been often pointed out by my friend Rick Russotti from the Mitigation Journal Podcast, all hazards planning starts with the same steps we all know from our normal patient assessment process. We just scale the process up to handle multiple patients.
Check Out The Mitigation Journal
There’s a lot more to this but I think you’d be better served reading the article I link to from EMSWorld.com and also make sure you check out and listen to Rick Russotti’s excellent podcast, the Mitigation Journal. Do these things and put together your own “all hazards plan” for how you’ll deal with a major event when it falls in your lap.
Follow-up on the link for this and other news items as well as all of the additional resource links in the show notes for this episode – A Blast Injury Review for EMS (part 1) and Episode 332.