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Home > Topics > Mass Casualty Incidents
October 18, 2012
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EMS News in Focus
by Arthur Hsieh

Are you ready for the next Big One?

Great ShakeOut is good opportunity for all of us to dust off mass casualty response binders

By Arthur Hsieh

Editor's note: Millions in the United States and several other countries participated in an earthquake preparedness drill Thursday.

Today was the Great ShakeOut. At 10:18 a.m. on Oct. 18, 2012, millions of students and adults practiced what to do when an earthquake hits.

While this is being conducted primarily in California and the southeast, it's a good opportunity for all of us to shake the dust off the mass casualty response binders and review the procedures that we'll need if something catastrophic hits our community.

Ask yourself a few questions:

  • Are you prepared to respond? Do you have clothing, water and personal supplies in case you are suddenly called to an extended shift, or held over?
  • Are you familiar with the communications and response plans that your disaster plan lays out?
  • Are the plans up-to-date and accurate? A lot of times, the environment changes, and it can take a while to update a plan with the most current information.
  • What disasters can befall your community? Thinking about possible scenarios can help you mentally rehearse and be better prepared to react to a large-scale event.

Given the recent larger quakes in New England and some midwestern states, these exercises can be very beneficial in reminding us all about the need to be prepared for the next Big One.

About the author

EMS1 Editor in Chief Art Hsieh, MA, NREMT-P currently teaches at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. In the profession 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 published textbook author, has presented at conferences nationwide, and continues to provide patient care at a rural hospital-based ALS system. Contact Art at Art.Hsieh@ems1.com.
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