Sunday, September 18, 2011
will the disaster be a disaster?
Billions of dollars have been spent on "homeland security", even forming an entire department in the US government around this. The emphasis is on prevention mostly. However there has been significant money put into first responders, hazmat, etc. I have seen some of this affect us. There has been hazmat training, there has been a state wide emergency disaster system set up online that tracks patients and bed availability. This assumes the internet will be up.
I'm a bottom line type of gal. My interest is: There is a mass casualty, people start heading for hospitals on foot, in ambulances, in cars. How are we going to handle the rapid influx of patients? Practically, where will we put them, triage them, treat them? Do we have the supplies that we will need to deal with them? We supposedly have a couple of disaster carts. Somehow, I don't think they will be adequate. If there is a biological, chemical attack? Do we have the supplies for that in the form of medication? Medication specific to the agent involved? Who will make sure that people who are contaminated don't rush into the hospital? The most important question I have is: Why don't I, as someone who works in an ER, as an ER charge nurse know any of this stuff?
As someone who was in the military, in the medical field, I think that we should use the military, people who are already set up to deal with mass casualty to teach us how to do this. In the military we used to sometimes stage disaster drills that involved the civilian EMS system. This should happen more. Use the resources that are already there to teach us. Is this a realistic idea? Who knows. Something needs to happen.
We don't think about this much, unless we are reminded by a disaster or take a class that speaks to it. We put it out of our mind. Its too overwhelming to think about. We hope for the best. The people who rely on us in these kind of situations deserve more than our hope that it will go well.
Posted by girlvet at 5:44 PM