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Days 8 & 9-Mission Structure Revealed

We received more triage training-how to make a 20-second assessment of mass casualties: 1) Who doesn't need help immediately 2) Who needs immediate help 3) Those who are dead or will be dead shortly.

We learned the structure of our mission on the last day. Legislation was passed dealing with terrorism recently. The FBI is the lead protective and investigative agency and the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) the lead medical agency. The FBI requests help from the PHS, which in turn activates the DMAT. Or, the FBI may alert the RHA (Regional Health Administration) which in turn contacts the CDC (Center for Disease Control) which deploys the DMATs. One last possibility is that the state EOC (Energy Operations Center) can request RHA to deploy the DMATs.

Before leaving today we had a lecture and hands-on demonstration of field suturing. To my amazement, I not only remembered how, but could do it rapidly. Tomorrow we return home. This has been an amazing experience.

Ready for the Future

During the going-away party there settled over many of the volunteers an awareness of the camaraderie that had developed over these past 10 days, and that this once-in-a-lifetime experience was coming to an end. Our team, made up of individuals with many diverse backgrounds, training and experience had developed into an effective unit.

It was like leaving a school that had provided me with a unique opportunity to meet extremely dedicated, experienced professionals. All of the DMAT teams were fortunately not needed, despite the bomb incident, which produced only a limited number of casualties, not the massive number for which we had now been trained. Nevertheless, if an event of this nature occurs in this country sometime in the future, this group of professionals will be ready.

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