Mass casualty planning: It’s in the bag |

Mass casualty planning: It’s in the bag

With the flood and fire season upon us, the Garfield Emergency Medical and Trauma Advisory Committee is doing a good job of staying ahead of the preparedness curve.

The advisory committee recently implemented the first phase of a program designed to develop procedures and coordination in dealing with mass casualty situations by supplying ambulances from Parachute to Carbondale with Mass Casualty Incident bags.

On the surface, different-colored vests and clipboards may seem of little consequence, but the time saved by those items and the rest of the supplies that fill the ambulance MCI bags can make the difference between life and death.

During an event that requires more than a single responding agency – and we’ve had a few in recent years – having each crew responsible for predetermined duties and donning identifying vests is essential. Think of the last pickup basketball game you played when it was too cold to go shirts and skins – then multiply it by 1,000.

Catastrophic situations are, by definition, chaotic. It’s impossible to be too prepared.

And the response to mass casualty situations should continue to improve in the future. Now that the area ambulances are organized and supplied with the MCI bags, the next two phases in the program are to create portable medical supply caches for the ambulances and to simulate a mass casualty to test the system’s capabilities.

The program is something we all hope will never be used to its fullest capability. But it’s good to know that when the inevitable tragedy in our area does occur, those taking care of us will be among the most prepared anywhere.

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