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Refresher Training of CERT by FOCUS

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

City healthcare workers gear up for mock drill

Mumbai: "When the 7/11 serial train blasts occurred, we managed well despite the confusion. But a drill defining roles for each and every personnel in the disaster management chain, be it fire officials or casualty staffers, would make our response sharper,'' said a civic nurse participating in an intensive disaster management training on Wednesday.
    The week-long training will culminate with a simulated bomb blast at Shivaji Park as part of a mock drill on Saturday. The MEMEx or the Mumbai Emergency Management Exercise is an attempt to sharpening the medical response in times of terror attacks or natural disasters like the 26\7 floods.

    At the Kalina campus of Mumbai University, hundreds of civic nurses, teachers and firemen are honing their skills on how to respond to disasters in tandem with other governmental agencies. S D Sawant from the fire brigade observed that the five-day training allowed them to interact with other arms of the medical system.
    "We are trained in first aid, but have often wondered whether the nurses or hospital staff who attend to the patient brought in our ambulances understand our coding system of marking critical patients. Here, we can exchange ideas,'' he said.

    Doctors from various civic hospitals had an advanced training programme at P D Hinduja Hospital in Mahim. For some like Dr Sharad Ruia from Bhabha Hospital, the course was a re-orientation into forgotten medical practices. "One thing that struck me during the sessions was their suggestion to use cervical collars on emergency patients brought to hospitals. In day-to-day practice, we somehow don't think of balancing the neck of patients.''
    The real test will take place on Saturday when the mock drill—complete with traffic restrictions placed by the police—over 100 'patients' will be rushed to KEM Hospital in Parel and Hinduja Hospital in Mahim.

    "One of the aims of MEMEx,'' said Dr Gustad Daver, medical director of Hinduja Hospital, "is to prepare a standardised protocol on emergency medical care. This will be circulated to all hospitals so that there is a standard way in which emergencies are dealt with.''
    But the pitfalls are rooted in the lack of an EMS Act, feels emergency specialist Khusrav Bajan who points out that paramedics should be empowered to provide basic resuscitative procedure. "An ideal system will be where the traffic authorities too are roped in to make way for ambulances,'' he said.


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