EMS World

MAR 2018

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EMSWORLD.com | MARCH 2018 27 edy a gap that exists across the emergency services world," says Maniscalco, "and that is having the experience and confidence to function at that ICS 400 level to coordinate resources in cross-functional areas and in a stressful environment in which resources become scarce pretty quickly." The two-day course helps participants develop their decision-making skills and situational awareness. On the first day instructors teach participants about the characteristics of a CCA, interagency coordination, how to gather and share intelligence, and resolutions for potential problems that may arise. For the remain- der of the course, the class splits up into groups to participate in simulated tabletop exercises. The exercises feature a city named Metropolis that faces multiple attacks requiring specialized resources from differ- ent agencies that participants must learn to manage. If resources are delegated too quickly to one incident, it's more difficult to reassign them to subsequent incident sites in greater need. "It becomes a logisti- cal nightmare," says Covington. Maniscalco says if responding agencies don't properly manage catastrophic inci- dents, "the fabric of society and the abil- ity to get back to normalcy is going to be altered." To ensure participants feel more confident about their abilities to do so, instructors stress the use of operational and theoretical applications, noting the skills learned in the course can be utilized for both day-to-day and large-scale opera- tions. "The foundation that we drive aggres- sively is the intersection of theory and operations so they become comfortable and better oriented on how to employ it," says Maniscalco. "These skill sets…are transportable. They're not only resonant at the catastrophic event, but they're trans- ferable to everyday operations in terms of managing your systems." The tabletop exercises are designed to help participants become innovative in their approach to problem-solving, Manis- calco says. For example, if a participant decides to move 100 patients to a hospital that can't handle an influx of that number, an algorithm will lock up those resources and determine how that decision affected the mortality rate of the event. The par- ticipant must then decide how to adapt and change course in a safe and efficient manner. Instructors are interactive throughout the exercises to both challenge and guide participants. To simulate a real city, the exercise provides participants with a lim- ited pool of resources, but with the ability to request more if necessary. "We're not there to give them additional problems, we're there to make them think about the possibilities of the problems aris- ing at these incidents," says Covington. "We can give them problems based on how the incident is going, but if they're doing very well, we have a tendency to let them do very well." Considering every agency has different resources available, the instructors remind the class that what they teach is only one way to handle these incidents. They don't ask participants to change their current protocols but to keep an open mind and apply what they learn according to their local needs and resources. "The fundamental skill sets we seek to provide through this program will allow each jurisdiction on a regional basis to determine how they will best respond to Tabletop exercises during training courses hosted by the LSU NCBRT are designed to help participants become innovative in their approach to MCI problem-solving. (Photo: Val Amato)

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