Welcome to July! Hope you and yours have a very safe and Happy 4th! If you are taking a shift that day, thanks for your service. This month we are overwhelming your local resources. Many Americans travel during the summer months, meaning more vehicles on the road-and more chances for Mass Casualty Incidents. Mass Casualty Incidents can happen anywhere at any time. By definition, a MCI is:
"A mass casualty incident (often shortened to MCI and sometimes called a multiple-casualty incident or multiple-casualty situation) is any incident in which emergency medical services resources, such as personnel and equipment, are overwhelmed by the number and severity of casualties. (1)"
Check out our important article on extricating patients from buses. Many extrication classes do not address buses because they are uncommon- but there are specific dangers such as the fuels, location of batteries, and safety features that make entry difficult. Add the number of passengers and absence of seatbelts- and you get the idea. Our At the Resource feature discusses FREE training available from the Center of Disease Control for blast and bombing injuries. When you read our article on a public health crisis- not one incident, but perhaps a “rolling” event- patients getting sick and overwhelming resources over a number of days in your community, think through your preparedness for this type of incident.
While much of the public thinks about mass casualties as “large scale” incidents, by definition, two responders arriving on a scene with five patients is a mass casualty. The initial management of every MCI is the same. 1. Scene safety 2. Proper Triage. If you haven’t reviewed your agency/ base hospital/ state laws on proper triage lately, take time this month to refresh your knowledge. If it’s been a while since your department ran a mass casualty drill, put one on the calendar.
Stay safe. Be at the Ready.
With warm regards,
1. Brady Prehospital Emergency Care Sixth Edition; Mistovich, Joseph J. et al pg, 866