This article concludes the Murrieta Fire Department CERT training series.
On the heels of the festive and gastronomic Murrieta Fire Department (MFD) BBQ, jog with me—as I attempt to burn some calories—along Multiple Casualty Incident (MCI) Lane, once littered with the staged, twisted metal of vehicle wreckage.
MFD in late February and early March where the parking lot adjacent to Murrieta Mesa High School (MMHS) became a three-dimensional, rescue, learning lab. Drama teacher, Christopher Ryan, wrangled 156, MMHS actors to don the gruesome moulage, depicting open fractures, deep lacerations and torn flesh, accentuating their roles as accident victims of a school bus versus three autos; an MCI in the truest sense.
I had trouble disassociating while sorting through the graphic portrayal of a fictional situation. I wasn’t unsettled by looking at the frank injuries, rather, it was the students’ youthfulness coupled with their helpless, painful expressions which tapped the depths of something so inexplicable, I’ve refrained from watching such things as entertainment for my entire life. Comedic, B-movies always get my rapt attention. I must say, great actors, all! No doubt we’ll see the name of the make-up director, Alexis Miura, rolling on the credits of a major motion picture in the near future.
In moving forward with the recap: Pechanga Fire Department (PFD) worked in tandem with MFD on implementing the incident command structure. AMR, Symons and Mission ambulance companies participated as transport agencies, ensuring the continuity of patient care en-route to the local emergency rooms of the local hospitals who also participated.
MFD’s Captain Eric Ballard slated an entire week, in late February, devoted to the drills at various times during the day.
I thought it befitting to subsequently participate in the , March 9-11 at MFD Juniper Station 1. Why? I’m glad you asked. An MCI is any incident in which the EMS system, resources, personnel and equipment become overwhelmed by an incident such as the scenario mentioned in the MCI drill. I refer you to the series of MCI articles posted on my Patch blog.
In my mind, disaster planning is an oxymoron. Certainly, in my former, professional experience as firefighter/paramedic, I was continuously trained for and responded to major rescue situations throughout my 15-year, fire service career. Still, I believe that few people on this lovely planet expect disasters to occur on a day-to-day basis, such as my 45-year-old, bohemian cousin, Ronnie, who totes a survival kit with him everywhere he goes, even when we surf together. Both the kit and Ronnie can float, atop the sea, for hours.
Actually, the number and severity of casualties is really incidental; three victims of a severe auto collision can tax the local EMS system just as readily as 30 victims because existing situations demand attention, too. The MCI articles on my previous blog posts explain triage and incident command as the necessary, universal approach EMS systems use to maintain relative order under major, chaotic, unexpected circumstances.
So, what does this all mean to you, Feiffer? Well, I invite you to take the CERT training proffered by most fire departments, Anywhere, USA. If you learn nothing else but to take care of your own microcosm during a significant, life-changing event, I know you’ll rest a little easier while maintaining interim vigilance. Remember to kiss those you love at every opportunity. For everyone and everything else, Keep It Simple, Silly.
I’ve posted a five-minute video (click here) encapsulating the MCI drill and CERT training. Always a privilege...