When the winds of tragedy come our way who is there to pick up the pieces? It's your emergency services. In the wake of the disaster that took place in Indiana this past week we should be reminded that we need to revisit our training in dealing with mass casualty incidents and technical rescue. While our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this horrible tragedy, we as the people who respond to these emergencies can take this time to reflect on our own departments to better prepare ourselves for this type of scene.
I would venture to say that these types of concerts and other type public events happen in all of our response districts. What kind of policies does your department use to manage this type of event? Do you assign crews to strategic areas around the event? Do you relocate outside assets to make them closer to the mass gathering? Have you considered the need for large amounts of patients you could be faced with in the event of an accident of this magnitude? How is your district set up with local hospitals to distribute multiple injured patients? These are all things that should be thought of well in advance before these types of events.
But what is my role, I'm just a firefighter? Many of you ride backwards in the truck like I do at this point in your career and do not make these types of policies. This does not relieve you of the responsibility of preparing for this type of event! It is our duty to review these polices while preparing our equipment. Extra EMS supplies, a larger amount of rope rescue gear, and additional lumber to use for cribbing are all things we should consider having around in the event of an accident. We should also review some of the rigging used in stage construction to be aware if we are needed to stabilize it.
In the case in Indiana, the responders did a fantastic job using the unofficial mantra of the United States Marine Corps. Improvise, Adapt, and overcome!
God bless the victims and the responders in Indiana!
Some similar incidents can be found below.