EMS World

JUL 2018

EMS World Magazine is the most authoritative source in the world for clinical and educational material designed to improve the delivery of prehospital emergency medical care.

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COVER REPORT: MCI & DISASTER RESPONSE 26 JULY 2018 | EMSWORLD.com T he TV show you're watching is interrupted by breaking news: There's been a horrible train acci- dent with multiple fatalities in a city where you have family and friends. Your first thought is, Are my loved ones involved? When these events occur, loved ones need to know what happened. This is part of assistance operations that may fall to EMS. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is charged by Congress with investigating air accidents to determine what happened and why. The NTSB also investigates significant accidents in other modes of transportation: railroad, highway, marine, and pipeline. The goal of an NTSB investigation is to improve transportation safety—the agency does not enforce regula- tions or investigate criminal events. The NTSB has an additional important responsibility: to coordinate the resources of the federal government and other organiza- tions to assist victims and family members affected by major transportation disasters. The Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act of 1996 tasked the NTSB with coordinating federal government resources in support of local and state governments, disaster relief organizations, and air carriers to address the concerns of families following commercial air carrier accidents resulting in a major loss of life. This requires domestic and foreign air carriers operating in the United States to meet various obligations, including notifica- tion of family members following an acci- dent; submission of flight manifests to the NTSB; logistical support to family members; management of personal effects; and com- mitment of sufficient resources and person- nel to carry out the air carrier's family sup- port obligations. In 2008 similar legislation was enacted for rail passenger accidents. The NTSB's Transportation Disaster Assistance (TDA) Division is responsible for managing the agency's family assistance program. TDA consists of specialists with backgrounds in disaster mental health, emergency management, hospitals/health- care, and medicolegal operations/disaster victim identification. Since the division's inception, its team has assisted thousands of family mem- bers associated with over 1,000 accidents. While its experience is focused specifically on transportation accidents, basic concepts regarding family member concerns are applicable to any MCI. Comprehensive family assistance pro- grams address the fundamental concerns of family members who have experienced an unexpected loss. These concerns transcend socioeconomic and cultural boundaries. No single agency is responsible for addressing every concern. A comprehensive family assistance program requires collaboration among local, state, and federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations, the private sector, and transportation operators. A critical aspect of preparing for an MCI is determining where your organiza- tion fits into the overall family assistance response. Which concerns are your orga- MCI: THE CRITICAL ROLE OF EMS IN FAMILY ASSISTANCE OPERATIONS Loved ones need answers after MCIs, and we're often positioned to help provide them By Cyndi Lake, MPH, CEM, EMT Photo: NTSB

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