Disaster Response Training
Published 12th November 2015, 3:2pm
Between October 29th and November 12th, over thirty individuals in Grand Cayman received training in Mass Casualty Management (MCM) and Incident Command Systems (ICS). The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI) sponsoring the courses.
Course Coordinator, HMCI Deputy Director Omar Afflick explained, “Sometime ago we were able to train a number of local Instructors and so this is now the second time the Cayman Islands has rolled out the Mass Casualty and Incident Command Systems Training with a team of local instructors.”
Local instructors Richard Barrow (RCIPS), Simon Boxall (HMCI), Tracey Gibbs (CIEMS) Zaheer McLeod (CIEMS), Ian Yearwood (RCIPS), Andrew McLaughlin (CIAA) and Shane Brown (CIEMS) are conducting the Mass Casualty Management Course along with two instructors from Bermuda; Dr. Nicole Hart and Patrice Perinchief. PAHO has also sent down two instructor trainers Peter Burgess and Dr. Roslyn Bascombe-Adams to oversee the MCM Training program.
“We need to maintain a state of maximum readiness for a major incident and this training is improves our preparedness and response capacity,” explained HMCI Deputy Director Omar Afflick. “It is important that we have pre-established procedures in place for rescue mobilization, incident site management and hospital reception in the event that we face a big emergency situation, especially those involving multiple victims and a multi-agency response. Because the Cayman Islands is relatively small in terms of size and population we face some unique challenges; if we don’t practice before we face a major incident it could easily overwhelm us. This course makes us better prepared to provide prompt and appropriate assistance to victims, it will help us to minimize injuries and prioritize the victims so the most critical receive the most immediate medical attention.”
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. For example, it could be a situation such as a major fire, or a multi-car traffic accident. Some of the subject areas covered in the training included: emergency medicine, the organization of advanced medical posts, psychosocial care, the management of dead bodies, division of roles and responsibilities, and tasks of the first responders.
The Incident Command Systems (ICS) training was sponsored by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and was held between November 10th and November 12th. The course covered the structure, functions and responsibilities of managing incident sites, responding to complex incidents and coordinating multiple agency response to an incident. Omar Afflick explained; "During multiple agency responses, responders must work together efficiently and interact well with one another. Depending on the type of incident, one particular agency assumes overall responsibility as the Incident Commander and they are then in charge of the response effort. Obviously this is different to more routine or normal response situations where an agency tends to do more or less their own thing. So for example, if there was a plane crash, you would likely have Fire Services, Police, Civil Aviation, HSA, forensic examiners, communicators and many other groups on the scene. It is clearly a complex situation and all these agencies need to work together despite having their own hierarchy and their own way of doing things. If they can’t cooperate and work together, the result is probably going to be inefficiency and chaos. So this course is important; it makes Cayman even better able to deal with a really serious situation, if it occurs."
Participants in the training included representatives from Port Authority, the Cadet Corp, the Prison Service, first responders such as Police Officers, Fire Fighters, Health Care Workers as well as volunteer agencies such as the Red Cross and Community Emergency Response Teams.