Just wanted to take a minute and update everyone on the status of SEMSNation. We have completed the software suites. The package consist of the Pre_Planner, Patient Tracker , Resource Manager and the Library module. Currently we are testing the software and getting all the bugs out. I was asked by someone the other day why anyone would want to buy this software ? I’m glad you asked !

I have had a chance to travel all over the country and there is one glaring inescapable fact that can’t be avoided. There are no standards or guidelines in place for protecting special events and mass gatherings. In an industry driven by standards and best practices this seems odd. Perfect example, CPR no matter where you go in the world CPR is done the same way. The compulsion towards uniformity and standards permeates every facet of EMS from Ambulance designs , NREMTs, ACLS, BTLS and PEPS. When EMTs and Paramedics meet we are all working from a basic set of core standards which are the standards laid out by the National Registry of EMTs. Because of the standards laid out by the National Registry we are collectively taught from from day one what is acceptable and unexceptionable patient care and as long as you operate within the accepted guidelines everything is fine.

When it comes to the subject of special events or event medical responses it’s like the wild wild west with everyone doing things their own way. The industry is in complete chaos. In an industry that is filled with risk, the only acceptable defense is a provide operated within accepted standards. How can this wild west mentality persist ?

There are very few people applying any research or analytical thought to the matter. There’s tons of research on survival rates post cardiac arrest not much research on patient cycle rates and the affect on patient loads at events held on largely concrete surfaces in temperatures greater that 85 degrees. Since these things are not actively being researched we are are undertaking this type of research. For now when providers are faced with a special event they rely on prejudice, urban legends, folk lore and paranoia to plan. In 90% of the responses I have studied the events were treated as a MCI or mass casualty with none actually becoming a MCIs. Anyone that routinely services events know that is the absolutely the wrong approach. It’s too costly and doesn’t service the event very well.

I am witnessing the slow death of an event held this summer that had attendance of 14,000 people on day one, 20,000 on day 2 and 45,000 on day 3. For an event this small the local jurisdiction employed 10 different EMS agencies and rolled out it’s mass casualty response plan. The total number of patients all weekend , fifty one (51). This response cost $750,000 ,there is no event in the world that can afford that. So as it stands now either the event is going to be forced into bankruptcy or the local jurisdiction eats the cost.

I argue it doesn’t have to be one or the other. A proper response in accordance with establish standards would have most assuredly prevented this. Because a responsible response would have been 1/10th to 1/100th of what was there. My Sensei has a saying for this type of situation. He says,”If all you have in your tool box is a hammer then you will attack every problem with a hammer”. Meaning the local FD had no other tools available to them except the training they had in Mass Casualty. So they did what they knew how to do.

In the years to come fire departments, EMT services and emergency offices will be held more and more accountable for the choices they make in terms of spending. I can foresee a time when officers could be held criminally responsible for how they spend department funds. Gone forever are the days just throwing resources at a situation until it is overwhelmed. Like Bob Dylan said,”For the times they are a-changin’. ”

This is where SEMSNation comes in we are the organization to establish any kind of standards for special events. We will be conducting on going research, convening experts and blazing the path for the industry by devising responsible standards for keeping the public safe at special events and mass gatherings.

In future blogs we will talk about process based response planning versus outcome based response planning. We’ll also talk about resource allocation, management and usage. We will examine a dollars and cents approach to providing the best response possible while spending every dollar responsibly.

This starts with the software package which takes planners step by step through the process helping to decide what is needed and not needed and then accounting and justifying every dollar spent. Standards for Event Medical Responses is far overdue. Thank you for visiting the SEMSNation and check back frequently.