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Home > Columnists > Arthur Hsieh
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EMS News in Focus
by Arthur Hsieh

Take the effort to perform the 3 'Rs'

How emergency responders can work together to promote the best possible outcome

By Arthur Hsieh

Editor's note: With responders from different agencies in Vermont being hailed for their coordinated efforts at a bus crash, our Editorial Advisor Art Hsieh explains how you can prepare for an MCI.

On occasion, it all comes together — during a major incident where resources are slim and access to care is limited, emergency responders work together to promote the best possible outcome.

As reported in the article, the responders did their pre-incident preparation through training, and as the event began to unfold, set up a communication system that facilitated the flow of information from the scene to the providers to the receiving facilities.

You can do this too, by taking the effort to perform the three "Rs:"

1) Review — Look over your MCI plans and destination policies that would take effect during mass casualty events.

2) Rehearse — Tabletop exercises and walk-through training can help iron out pesky logistical issues and build familiarity. In addition, encourage your system to practice "triage" days, where every patient encounter gets a triage tag.

3) React — Remember that the wonderful organizational plan that's in place can go out the window as soon as an actual event begins. Use your training to adapt to the situation, and be resourceful in your management. You too can be the hero in your community.

About the author

EMS1 Editorial Advisor Art Hsieh, MA, NREMT-P currently teaches at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. Since 1982, Art has worked as a line medic and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a textbook author, has presented at conferences nationwide, and continues to provide patient care at an EMS service in Northern California. Contact Art at
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