Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mass Casualty Incident (MCI) Drill

Firefighters must be prepared for any type incident, no matter how large. A mass casualty incident is any incident involving ten or more patients. Firefighters must quickly determine the number of patients, the extent of their injuries, and determine how many additional resources will be needed to handle this situation.

The biggest task of the first arriving responders is to get control of the scene and ensure the responders' and patients' safety. Often bystanders are attempting to help or watch. Police officers may be needed to secure the scene to provide firefighters/medics and the ambulance personnel the space to work.

The next step is Triage. Triage is the process of firefighter/medics determining the severity of each patient's injuries and assigning a simple Red, Yellow, Green tag to each patient. Red represents a traumatic injury that is immediately life-threatening and requires the quickest transport to a hospital emergency department. Yellow, represents moderate injuries that may become more serious over time, but can be transported within several hours. And Green represents the minor injuries of what are called the "walking wounded." They would be transported to hospitals only after all the more serious patients have been cared for.

A Treatment Area will require multiple crews to provide initial treatment and stabilization of patients before they can be transported. A Transportation Officer will coordinate the loading and destination off each ambulance.

An MCI with 30 patients would easily require as many as ten engine companies or about 40 firefighters. The Incident Commander requests additional resources as needed by ordering additional alarms.

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