Monday, November 14, 2011

Storm Coming

Storms are heading this way.
On learning this, we began our usual prep for such things.

1. What kind of storm, how big, and when? From what direction?
We watch the Weather Channel, and check radar maps online to see what's coming, and how long we have before it gets here. It's rarely exact, but it gives us some idea.  Right now, it's severe thunderstorms, and some places have tornado watches. Can't tell how much will hit us, and how much will miss, but it looks like we won't escape entirely.

2. How much danger does that present?
Comparing this "weather event" to others we've had, there appears to be some elevated risk, but probably not to disaster proportions. Enough that we need to pay attention, but not enough to be alarmed just yet.

3. What are the specific risks HERE?
Typically, the highest risks with this kind of storm are downed trees and wires, possible decreased visibility on the roads, with an increased likelihood of MVAs.

4. What do we need to brush up on?
Here is where it gets both complicated, and interesting.

For downed wires and trees, if they don't hit anything, it's mostly a matter of standing around waiting for the power company.  If they DO hit something, or start something on fire, that's a different story entirely. We need to remind ourselves what equipment we have, where it is, and what safety concerns there are involved in using it. Consider discussing plans for detours in certain areas, if the roads are blocked. Look at the local map to refresh memories of the smaller roads.

If there is any sort of building collapse, we are not prepared to handle that, so who can? Who do we call for mutual aid, and how long will it take them to get here?  It is highly unlikely that helicopters will fly, so any trauma will have to go by ground- meaning we need to really hustle and not waste any time on scene.

Likewise any MVA with traumatic injuries. No time to waste on scene.
It is possible our ALS back up, transporting agency, could be delayed, either by having no rig available, or by road conditions, so be prepared to do more than usual on our own.
Review trauma protocols.
Review spinal immobilization.
Review bleeding control, and wish we had tourniquets available. How might we improvise if necessary?

Who is in town tonight, and what skills do they have? Consider preplanning who will do what, as much as possible, not knowing what the incident might be. If conditions deteriorate, consider having people standby at the station.

Especially consider communication needs- it's not a subject we have a lot of experience or skill in out here. Verbalize everything, as much as possible.

It's going to be dark, and wet, and otherwise nasty, so remember lighting, and good boots. Don't walk into anything you can't see.

We (the small we, meaning myself and my family, not the dept in general) go over some variation of this every time there is a risk of an upcoming event that has some lead time, so we have time to brush up.

Otherwise, we try to rotate review of different subjects as we can, or seasonally.

The best example of this was the day we reviewed trauma protocols in the vehicle on the way to an incident that we already knew had no injuries- then, while we were on scene, a second incident happened, with serious injuries. I was VERY glad we had just gone over things, so it was fresh.

My ideal would be to always feel like everything is fresh in our minds. Hard to manage- but fairly simple to work towards.

No comments:

Post a Comment