EMS-1 Major Incidents

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Leveraging Volunteers During Emergent Events

Fri, 04/19/2019 - 15:46

Professional responders who are first to arrive at a mass casualty incident (MCI) face a complex and potentially overwhelming challenge. It’s possible the first to arrive may be an inexperienced responder who will have to make decisions quickly and may lack mental models to help drive their behaviors. Even in a well-coordinated response, the professional responders may not be able to treat all the injured at the same time, and so they must triage and prioritize the victims.

Spontaneous volunteers often heroically step in to fill the gap without being asked, but their courage and commitment often adds complexity to an already chaotic and challenging situation. Recent MCIs demonstrate that volunteers are often willing to help in a variety of ways. The additional support can make a significant difference in the response, and can help saves lives. Current policy and training don’t encourage professional responders to engage and leverage the public in this manner.1

The initial professional responder (IPR) is defined as “the initial professionally trained and legally recognized responder to arrive at the scene of an event.” It is usually a member of the police, fire or EMS. An IPR arriving on scene at any complex event is often the immediate center of attention for volunteers and victims. The IPR is seen as the legitimate authority and expert to turn to.

This can create a significant amount of stress on the IPR, as well as providing the IPR with an important amount of informal power. The IPR is expected to take charge, make decisions and provide information under the most challenging of circumstances. A simple and straightforward method of trying to bring order to the chaos is needed to allow the IRP to make decisions and manage the incident effectively.

Recognition of the capacity for volunteers to help has led to a number of new initiatives aiming to train and empower volunteers. Simple yet effective medical techniques and initiatives have been developed, such as Stop the Bleed, Be the Help,2 and Until Help Arrives.3

Categories: EMS

Shop Owner Killed in North Carolina Explosion

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 05:50

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — A leaking gas line exploded Wednesday in a Durham shopping district, killing one person and injuring more than a dozen others as firefighters were evacuating people from buildings near the rupture, authorities said.

The blast reverberated across the North Carolina city — turning one building to rubble, shattering windows blocks away and filling the air with acrid smoke. The owner of a coffee shop at the site of the blast was identified Wednesday night as the person who died.

Jim Rogalski, 58, was working in his office across the street from the destroyed building when the explosion blew out the windows. At least four people working in cubicles by the windows suffered deep cuts, bloody head wounds and other injuries, he said.

"There was lots of screaming. ..." Rogalski said. "It was pretty frantic there for a little bit until help showed up."

Rogalski was seated one row away from the windows and wasn't hurt.

"It was terrifying," he said. "The whole building shook. Things started falling — ceiling tiles, and structure and glass and debris. Lots and lots of dust. It was tough to see beyond 20 feet or so."


Firefighters and emergency personnel work the scene of a building fire in downtown Durham, N.C., Wednesday, April 10, 2019. Authorities say emergency officials responded to an explosion and fire possibly caused by a gas leak. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

The explosion came about 15 minutes after the office's human resources manager sent an email warning that the city's fire department was investigating the smell of gas and that workers shouldn't leave the building through the front door, he said as a friend gave him a ride home to Chapel Hill. Rogalski said he was forced to abandon his car in a nearby parking deck because authorities worried the blast may have weakened the structure.

Categories: EMS

One Dead, 15 Injured in North Carolina Explosion

Wed, 04/10/2019 - 12:29

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — A gas explosion that partially collapsed a North Carolina building and set it ablaze Wednesday morning killed one person and injured more than a dozen others, police said.

Police cars blocked the streets near the explosion in downtown Durham and a thick, acrid smoke hung over the shopping district created from remodeled tobacco warehouses. At least two ladder trucks sprayed blasts of water into the smoldering rubble nearly two hours after the explosion.

Durham Police Department spokesman Wil Glenn said a contractor boring under a sidewalk hit a 2-inch gas line, triggering the explosion. One person was killed and 15 people were taken to area hospitals, Glenn said at a news conference. One firefighter was seriously injured, he said.

Jim Rogalski, a Duke University employee who works in an office directly across the street, told the News & Observer that roughly 100 people in the office watched as the explosion blew windows off the side of their building.

"People were sitting at their desks and ceiling tiles were falling," he told the newspaper. "Stuff flew off shelves. You could barely see for 25 feet from all the dust. People were screaming."

Blocks away, the blast shattered windows and blew at least one door off its hinges in the nearby Brightleaf shopping district. Ed Rains was on a nearby street and couldn't see the blast but heard it. "I thought someone had dropped a dumpster on the street," he said.

Students from the nearby Durham School of the Arts were evacuated and classes dismissed for the day.

Al Donaldson, a teacher at the school, was walking through a hallway when he heard a loud noise, sparking concern among faculty and students. He was in a school building about two blocks from the blast on the sprawling campus.

"There was a loud bang. It was concerning. We didn't know the origin at the time," he said. "I was in the hallway so I didn't so much feel it shake as experiencing a jarring sound."

Categories: EMS

ISIS-Inspired Man Plotted Truck Attack at Maryland’s National Harbor

Tue, 04/09/2019 - 06:45

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) — Federal prosecutors say a man inspired by the Islamic State group stole a U-Haul truck with plans to drive it into a crowd at National Harbor, the popular dining and entertainment hang out just outside of Washington, D.C.

The allegation was made in a court filing Monday as prosecutors in Maryland urged a judge to keep the defendant, Rondell Henry, 28, detained on a charge of driving a stolen vehicle across state lines.

Authorities say Henry admitted that he wanted to create "panic and chaos" and that his plans for a truck attack were modeled after a deadly attack in Nice, France in July 2016..

Prosecutors say Henry told officers he was "just going to keep driving and driving and driving" and didn't plan on stopping.

"For two years, the defendant has harbored 'hatred' (in his words) for 'disbelievers' who do not practice the Muslim faith," prosecutors wrote in a motion for detention filed on Monday. "Seeking out and watching videos of foreign terrorists beheading civilians and fighting overseas, the defendant considered these gruesome actions brave and wanted to emulate them."

Prosecutors said in a filing Monday that Henry walked off his computer engineering job on March 26 in the middle of the day "determined to walk down the extremist path." They said he recognized his four-door sedan would not "cause the catastrophic damage that he desired," so he drove around the D.C. area looking for a larger vehicle to steal. They said he found a U-Haul van and stole it, before driving around and "assessing target locations" he had already decided would attract substantial media coverage.

According to court documents, the early the next day he went to Dulles International Airport in Virginia to attack, but  "at that early hour, the airport lacked the large number of unloading pedestrians the defendant hoped to find."

Categories: EMS

Five Dead, 36 Hurt in Pedestrian Bridge Collapse in Mumbai

Tue, 04/02/2019 - 06:36

NEW DELHI (AP) — A pedestrian bridge connecting a train station with a road collapsed in Mumbai on Thursday, killing at least five people and injuring more than 30, police said.

Police officer Praveen Satpal said 36 injured people were hospitalized, some in serious condition. Some motorists who were driving under the bridge when it collapsed were among the injured, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

An audit of the bridge's safety was carried out last year, said Maharashtra state Education Minister Vinod Tawde. He told reporters that some minor damage was detected and had not been repaired before the collapse of the bridge.

Thousands of commuters have used the 39-year-old bridge daily to reach Mumbai's bustling Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus railway station.

Maharashtra state's top elected leader, Devendra Fadanavis, ordered an inquiry into the collapse of the structure.

In 2017, a stampede broke out on a crowded pedestrian bridge connecting two railway stations in Mumbai, India's financial and entertainment capital, killing at least 22 people and injuring 32.

India's public infrastructure projects are substandard and collapse often in part because of corruption that leads to the construction of weak structure foundations and poor maintenance.

Rescuers ended their search operation at the collapsed bridge about two hours after it fell, Satpal said, adding that authorities were sure there was no one trapped because the rubble had been cleared away.

All contents © copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Categories: EMS

Seven Dead, Five Injured in Latest Industrial Accident in China

Mon, 04/01/2019 - 09:03

BEIJING (AP) — At least seven people were killed and five injured Sunday when a container containing scrap metal exploded in the latest in a series of industrial accidents in eastern China.

The early morning blast in the city of Kunshan in Jiangsu province caused a fire that spread to a nearby workshop, the city government said on its microblog. The cause of the explosion is under investigation, it said.

China experiences frequent industrial accidents despite orders from the central government, including president and ruling Communist Party leader Xi Jinping to improve safety at factories, power plants and mines, on pain of prosecution. Skirting of safety regulations — sometimes with the collusion of corrupt local officials — is generally given as the cause.

In March, 78 people were killed in a blast at a chemical plan in the Jiangsu province city of Yancheng that had numerous safety violations, in one of China's worst industrial accidents in recent years. A massive crater was formed, windows blown out for kilometers (miles) around, vehicles crushed and local residents forced to evacuate.

Earlier, in November, at least 22 people were killed and scores of vehicles destroyed in an explosion outside a chemical plant in the northeastern city of Zhangjiakou, which will host competitions in the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Among the worst accidents was a massive 2015 explosion at a chemical warehouse in the port city of Tianjin that killed 173 people, most of them firefighters and police officers. That blast was blamed on illegal construction and unsafe storage of volatile materials.

While China has largely curbed major traffic accidents, a fire on a tour bus traveling along a highway in central China has left 26 people dead and as many as 30 injured. Investigators said a passenger was carrying flammable materials that ignited accidentally.

All contents © copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Categories: EMS

18 Dead after Truck Slams into Crowd in Guatemala

Thu, 03/28/2019 - 12:17

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — A large truck slammed into a crowd gathered on a dark highway in western Guatemala, killing 18 people and leaving bodies scattered on the roadway, firefighters said Thursday.

Health Minister Carlos Soto said that 18 others, including children, were injured and taken to hospitals around the municipality of Nahuala, in Solola province.

Local fire department spokesman Cecilio Chacaj said people were apparently gathered on the highway after a person was killed in a separate accident, when the semi-trailer plowed into them late Wednesday.


A body is carried by rescue personnel after a highway accident in Nahuala, Guatemala, early Thursday, March 28, 2019. A large truck slammed into a crowd gathered on a dark highway in western Guatemala, killing over a dozen people and leaving bodies scattered on the roadway, firefighters said. (AP Photo/Sandra Sebastian)

Chacaj said that confusion during the early response to the accident had led his department to erroneously count the casualties.

"With the confusion, people initially said 30, even more, dead, but once we cordoned off the area we were able to count the bodies properly," Chacaj said.

A video circulating on social media showed bodies strewn on the roadway while several people cry and shout for help. Photos showed bloodstains, shoes and other debris on the asphalt amid yellow police tape.


Yellow police tape and shoes lay on the ground in the place where an accident occurred, in Nahuala, Guatemala, early Thursday, March 28, 2019. A large truck slammed into a crowd gathered on a dark highway in western Guatemala, killing over a dozen people and leaving bodies scattered on the roadway, firefighters said. (AP Photo/Sandra Sebastian)

The 28-year-old driver of the truck was detained at the scene.

Categories: EMS