July 17, 2008
Ambulance Partnership Enhances Local EMS Capabilities
Trailer ready for emergencies - A new multiple-casualty incident trailer housed at Oswego County Ambulance Service in Fulton is ready for any large-scale emergency in the county. Shown from left are EMT Dan Becker, A-EMT Edward Kasparek, Paramedic Brian Payne, Paramedic D.J. Potter, and Medic Zach Menter, Vice President of Oswego County Ambulance Service.
Equipment for multiple casualties - Paramedic D.J. Potter, left, and EMT Dan Becker show the equipment in a new MCI trailer for the county. The trailer was donated by the county Health Department and the equipment purchased by the Emergency Management Office with Homeland Security grant funding. Oswego County Ambulance Service has offered to house, maintain, and transport the trailer wherever it's needed.
Fulton - Minor motor vehicle accidents, small fires, and household injuries can usually be handled by first responders with a single ambulance and fire rescue vehicle. But events with large numbers of injured people can stretch the resources of emergency responders, especially during times when volunteers aren't available.
First responders are now better equipped to meet the needs of a large-scale or multiple-casualty incident (also known as an MCI), thanks to a recent partnership between the Oswego County Emergency Management Office, County Health Department, and Menter's Oswego County Ambulance Service in Fulton.
A trailer donated by the Health Department's Environmental Division has been transformed into a new MCI trailer with emergency medical equipment to handle large numbers of patients. The vehicle is housed at Oswego County Ambulance Service in Fulton.
One of several in the county, the MCI trailer at Menter's represents a unique partnership between the two county departments and a private agency, said Patricia Egan, Director of the Oswego County Emergency Management Office/Emergency Medical Services.
“The trailer itself was donated by the Health Department when a new one was purchased for the rabies program with grant funding,” she noted. “Some of the equipment inside was purchased with Homeland Security funding, and Menter's offered to house it and take it to any incident in the county when requested.”
“One of our concerns was that there needed to be an MCI trailer in this part of the county where paid EMS personnel are available on a 24/7 basis,” said Zach Menter, vice president of Oswego County Ambulance Service. “This can be brought anywhere in our primary response areas, and we're willing to go anyplace in the county where it's needed.”
Oswego County Ambulance has purchased a pickup truck that is certified as a New York State basic life support fly car. The truck will be used to tow the MCI trailer. “Our employees are in the process of training on all of the equipment in the trailer, where it's stored and how to use it,” Menter said.
The trailer also carries a generator and a portable tent with a heater. The tent can hold up to 12 to 15 people who don't need medical care, or up to six with emergency services personnel providing pre-hospital care.
“Typically, an MCI is declared when there are more patients than there are resources to take care of them,” Menter explained. “It holds extra equipment beyond what's carried on an ambulance. Patients are treated with medical equipment from the trailer, rather than stripping the ambulance, which could be needed for another emergency right afterward.
“For example, one or two ambulances wouldn't be able to meet the needs of 10 injured patients when a bus carrying 30 people overturns on the highway,” said Menter. “An MCI trailer will carry the additional backboards, bandages, oxygen masks, blankets, trauma dressings, etc. that we would need to prepare patients for transport to a hospital.”
The trailer would be brought to an accident scene at the request of the incident commander, typically the chief of the responding fire company.
Egan noted the trailer can be available for special events where there's potential for a multiple-casualty incident, and Menter has offered to have his personnel bring it to Harborfest later this month in Oswego.
“We appreciate Menter's willingness to step up, to house and maintain equipment that we hope we use only rarely, if at all,” Egan said. “If there is a large scale emergency in the county, we are better equipped to handle it with the MCI trailer added to the resources on hand.”
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