First responders train for mass incident

| 15/04/2011

CNS): Focusing on the need to maintain a state of maximum readiness for any major incident that could take place in the Cayman Islands Hazard Management has partnered with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to improve the local disaster response capacity. Around fifty people are currently receiving training in Mass Casualty Management and Incident Command Systems, an area which the deputy director HMCI Deputy Director Omar Afflick needs to improve in order for first responders to ensure they are acting in unison. Afflick said the training was an opportunity “to tighten up” and ensure everyone one is ready to deal with a serious situation if it should occur. (Photo Dennie WarrenJr)

"Some of the skills that will be taught in the training sessions will not be entirely new to some ofthe participants, but have already been put into practice in past disaster drills and exercises, “ Afflick said in a release from HMCI. “However, the country must always maintain a state of maximum readiness for a major incident and this training will seek to improve the country’s overall preparedness and response capacity."

He explained that a Mass Casualty Incident is any event resulting in a number of victims large enough to disrupt the normal course of emergency health care services. “We could be looking at an emergency on a large scale following a situation such as an earthquake or a major fire, or perhaps something like a multi-car traffic accident,” Afflick said. “It is important to have pre-established procedures in place for rescue mobilization, incident site management and hospital reception to meet any specific challenges we face here in Cayman."

The Mass Casualty Management training is to ensure prompt and appropriate assistance to victims of disasters, minimizing injuries and ensuring that the most critical receive immediate medical attention. Some of the subjects areas covered include: emergency medicine, the organization of advanced medical posts, psychosocial care, management of bodies, division of roles, and responsibilities and tasks of the first responders.

The Incident Command Systems (ICS) course will cover the structure, functions and responsibilities of managing incident sites, responding to complex incidents and most importantly coordinating multiple agency response to an incident.

"I think this one of the areas we can really improve on and we will benefit from this training with PAHO," the deputy director stated. "It has been articulated that there needs to be improvement in some operational areas in the field; so that during multiple agency responses, all responders are working in unison and an agency (depending on the incident) will assume responsibility of Incident Commander. Indeed I think this is a good opportunity to tighten up our approach and make Cayman even better able to deal with a really serious situation, when it occurs."

The HMCI / PAHO training is taking place in the conference room at the George Town Hospital and participants include first responders such as Police Officers, Fire Fighters, Health Care Workers as well as volunteer agencies such as the Red Cross, ADRA and the Community Emergency Response Teams.


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