The United States Department of Homeland Security defines an active shooter as "... an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearms and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims."
First responders often contend with unusual stressors when tackling casualty evacuation during disaster response — like reaching (and later moving) victims from hot zones or hard-to-reach places. Their response time has a significant impact on survival rates. As such, equipping them with the training and tools they need to work efficiently and safely can mean the difference between a patient’s life and death.
With an increase in mass casualty incidents in recent years, first response teams are under more pressure than ever before to be disaster prepared. Whether it’s an active shooter incident or natural disaster, your casualty evacuation plan needs to be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure that your EMS team members are able to respond to disaster, and evacuate victims, efficiently and safely.
Here are five things to keep in mind when reviewing the casualty evacuation aspect of your disaster response plan:
The role of the tactical medic has evolved in response to an increasing need to offer emergency medical services in warm zones — an area of indirect threat that’s close to the action. Active shooter incidents across the US, in particular, have sparked the rise in this new form of emergency medical service (EMS). Let’s explore what tactical medics do today and how they help keep you at the leading edge:
Winter is here, and with it comes new challenges for first responders and other emergency medical services (EMS) professionals. Not only do the risk of road accidents increase over the icy months, first responders also need to take extra measures to prevent hypothermia in patients exposed to cold. Here’s what your team should know when treating someone in winter and which EMS medical supplies may make all the difference:
Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is a constantly evolving profession. When you’re responsible for high-pressure medical interventions, it helps to be up-to-date with the latest developments in medical technology and best practice. The latest edition of the EMS Trend Report from ems1.com showcases insights and trends that help you stay at the leading edge of emergency medical care.
Here are the 5 key themes from EMS Trends 2020:
A new Medicare payment model for emergency transport is being piloted from January 2020. The Emergency Triage, Treat, and Transport Model (ET3) is a five-year optional payment program designed to curb overutilization of Emergency Departments (ED) and overtreatment of Medicare beneficiaries requiring emergency medical care.
Under the ET3, ambulance providers will now be reimbursed for providing triage on the scene or transporting patients to lower-acuity care settings rather than the currently incentivized option - the emergency room. This alternative payment model was announced in February 2019 by Health and Human Services Secretary, Adam Azar.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious condition that affects people who have experienced frightening or shocking events. Symptoms include anxiety, depression and intrusive thoughts and memories that continue to affect day-to-day life, wellbeing and peace of mind long after the traumatic event has passed.
Unfortunately, people who put their lives on the line in the service of others often suffer from PTSD. Though first responders are trained to deal with tragedy and trauma, these events inevitably take their toll.
According to this article by the Insurance Information Institute, the number of yearly natural catastrophes in the United States has doubled from 27 to 55 from 2009 to 2018. In 2018 alone, the FBI designated 27 shooting incidents in 16 states as active shooter incidents, resulting in 213 casualties and 85 deaths. These figures may be harrowing, but as this article indicates, they paint a clear picture: natural and man-made disasters are increasing in frequency and intensity.
People often look upon first responders as heroic. They rush towards danger when other people might run away. And the physical demands of being a first responder are undeniable. First responders are in charge of patient maneuvering debris, breaking down barriers, and patient transport. There's even a type of "carry" named after the fireman.
Everyday Emergency Medical Services (EMS) responders provide an important service in treating and transporting patients with minor injuries up to serious, life-threatening conditions. While highly trained and skilled, neither the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), nor the Paramedic was ever meant to be an expert in mass casualty incidents such as an active shooter event. Just as police units have regular patrol and also SWAT, medical responders also need specialized response teams.