Mass Fatalities and EMS Response
July 12, 2012
According to a variety of sources, a mass-fatality incident can most simply be defined as an incident where there are more deaths than can be handled by local resources. This basic definition is applicable in any size community, and while many people may think of major events like earthquakes or long heat waves as a mass-fatality event, it could just as easily be a pile-up on the highway.
An article on emergency medical services (EMS) response to mass fatalities in EMSWorld Magazine discusses the planning process with other local offices and departments on how to manage such an incident. The article offers steps that can be taken during the planning process with other local offices and departments in order to chart out the handling of mass-fatality incidents.
Fatality management raises many logistical questions to be answered before such an incident. As another article in EMSWorld states: “What happens when there are more fatalities than victims? Who in your jurisdiction is the lead agency in a mass fatality incident? What is the “benchmark” to declare a mass fatality incident? What then becomes the role of local responders? These are just a few items that need to be addressed in your planning.”