This report of an aircraft crash at a major airport in Kingston, Jamaica examines the response of the local Emergency Medical Services (EMS). Factors that impacted the response are discussed, and the need for more disaster simulation exercises is highlighted. The objective of this case report was to document the response of EMS personnel to the crash of American Airlines Flight 331, and to utilize the information to examine and improve the present protocol.
While multiple errors can occur during a mass-casualty event, these can be reduced by frequent simulation exercises during which various personnel practice and learn designated roles. Efficient triage, proper communication, and knowledge of the roles are important in ensuring the best possible outcome. While the triage system and response of the EMS personnel were effective for this magnitude of catastrophe, more work is needed in order to meet predetermined standards. Ways in which this can be overcome include: (1) hosting more disaster simulation exercises; (2) encouraging more involvement with first responders; and (3) strengthening the links in the local EMS system. Vigorous public education must be instituted and maintained.
Dasgupta S, French S, Williams-Johnson J, Hutson R, Hart N, Wong M, Williams E, Espinosa K, Maycock C, Edwards R, McCartney T, Cawich S, Crandon I. EMS response to an airliner crash. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2012;27(3):1-4.