MCI Triage – When $h*t Hits the Fan

Let’s talk about going from “0 to 60mph.”  We often hold these MCI drills (usually at the expense of Uncle Sam and his glorious grants). Does this training prove fruitful? I think so. While during the event it may seem like a cluster, afterwards it can be very easy to critique the event and usually you will find very little that needs to be fixed in this post 9-11 era.

For a case study I am going to use an example from Western Massachusetts. A few months ago, something happened in Massachusetts that hasn’t happened for almost a hundred years. Two tornadoes touched down in the Greater Springfield Area. This then launched the Greater Springfield into a disaster response mode , the likes of which hasn’t been seen since I started my career almost 7 years ago.

I spent some time talking with a former supervisor of mine, and fellow EMS 2.0 blogger, Scott Kier about the events that unfolded that day. He talked about the staging plans on the north and south sides of the tornadoes path. He praised staff for their dual command centers, and the communications staff for keeping everything in check. Luckily there were little casualties as a result of the storm. Most of the transports they did were all secondary injuries or normal medical jobs. Triaging casualties can be very difficult, especially if people aren’t on the same page. Thankfully two things happened that day to make it flow pretty easily. First, excellent crews that rose to the occasion of helping people at their time of need. They put their personal wants and needs behind and answered the call. I feel like this is a reflex reaction and no matter how burnt our or “crispy” you may be, its often hard to deny it. Second, there was a low casualty rate as a result of the storm, which didn’t bog down resources.

Scott spoke of “crews going door to door checking on the residents, making sure that everyone was okay.” I was proud to hear that such a large service still had the caring of a small town service. Scott also talked about how even at one point “crews had to take shelter in a resident’s basement because the second tornado was touching down.” The “Big-City” that everyone always talks about suddenly appeared as if to be a tiny “one horse town.”

It is very hard to keep your cool when mother natures is reigning down her wrath. I have to say from the stories that Scott told me, I am very proud to call you guys colleagues. I brought attention to this story because I feel it truly emulates the EMS 2.0 Mission. These providers were methodically searching the city looking for sick and injured. They were on the same page, and gained a lot of attention from local, state, and even some federal agencies.

Thank you to the Greater Springfield EMS providers for helping bring EMS 2.0 to your city. Keep up the great work, and most of all stay safe!

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3 responses to “MCI Triage – When $h*t Hits the Fan

  1. You would have been proud of your former coworkers that day. I was amazed at how smoothly it went all things considered. I definitely agree that everyone came together and did what had to be done for the good of the city. Being one of those taking cover in a basement, it certainly went to show that we were essentially no less human than the victims minus the uniforms.

  2. Really? I didn’t know that Carl. He didn’t tell me who was specifically on that search group. I’m gonna attach some pics I took when I was out there last week. Keep up the great work man!

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