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Local health and emergency management talk mass-casualty prepare - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Local health officials and emergency management talk mass-casualty preparedness

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The Pima County Office of Emergency Management acts as a central resource for first responders and hospitals during various disasters, including mass shootings.

"Nobody is really ultimately 100 percent prepared for something like this. It doesn't necessarily all the time matter what the incident is out in the field, what happens here, we're going to support whatever their needs are and a lot of times, they share those same needs across different types of incidents,” said Courtney Bear with the Pima County Office of Emergency Management.

Preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation encompass the cycle of events during crisis situations.

The all-hazard comprehensive plan continues to be updated. The last revision was April 2016.

“My heart goes out to the first responders and all the families, everybody up there but it reminds us why we do what we do and why we try to get prepared and why we practice and train and why we help get our citizens prepared as well,” Bear said.

Dr. Andrew Tang serves as the trauma medical director at Banner University Medical Center. He’s one of eight trauma surgeons in Southern Arizona.

Tang emphasized how crucial it is for the level 1 trauma center to react efficiently if an event on the scale of the Las Vegas massacre were to take place.

But he believes there would be major challenges in terms of accommodating patients.

“Somewhere along the lines of 20-30 patients – stretching hospitals very thin but this (Las Vegas incident) is on the hundreds. I don’t think any individual hospital can handle this,” Tang said.

Tang noted the less severely injured people would ideally be transferred to hospitals other than Banner UMC if patient overload became an issue.

“If such an event were to occur here, there really has to be a very fine tuned orchestration between pre-hospital medicine and hospital medicine,” Tang said. “We’ll have to call in our backup systems – the surgeons who were planning on doing an elective cancer operation may be called in to do a gunshot wound. “

Tang urges general members of the public to consider enrolling in Banner UMC’s free “Stop the Bleed” campaign classes.

The courses are designed to instruct citizens how to properly cease hemorrhages, in turn saving lives and helping out medical professionals.

“I hate to say it but it took repeated events such as this for people to come more and more into the realization that this is something that we need to know on an individual basis,” Tang said.

To learn more about “Stop the Bleed,” click here.

To inquiry about tourniquet-training classes at Banner UMC, email susan.kinkade@bannerhealth.com

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