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Volunteer First Responders for Optimizing Management of Mass Casualty Incidents

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 June 2018

Eli Yafe
Affiliation:
Volunteers, Public Relations, Training, Fund-raising & International Relations Division, Magen David Adom, Tel-Aviv, Israel
Blake Byron Walker
Affiliation:
Geographisches Institut, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
Ofer Amram
Affiliation:
Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, Washington State University, Spokane, Washington
Nadine Schuurman
Affiliation:
Volunteers, Public Relations, Training, Fund-raising & International Relations Division, Magen David Adom, Tel-Aviv, Israel Geographisches Institut, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, Washington State University, Spokane, Washington School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada Department of Public Health, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Be’er Sheva, Israel Department of Disaster Management & Injury Prevention, School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Ellen Randall
Affiliation:
School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Michael Friger
Affiliation:
Department of Public Health, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Be’er Sheva, Israel
Bruria Adini*
Affiliation:
Department of Disaster Management & Injury Prevention, School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Israel
*
Correspondence and reprint requests to Bruria Adini, Hatamar 16, Bat Chen, 40290, Israel (e-mail: adini@tauex.tau.ac.il).

Abstract

Objective

Rapid response to a trauma incident is vital for saving lives. However, in a mass casualty incident (MCI), there may not be enough resources (first responders and equipment) to adequately triage, prepare, and evacuate every injured person. To address this deficit, a Volunteer First Responder (VFR) program was established.

Methods

This paper describes the organizational structure and roles of the VFR program, outlines the geographical distribution of volunteers, and evaluates response times to 3 MCIs for both ambulance services and VFRs in 2000 and 2016.

Results

When mapped, the spatial distribution of VFRs and ambulance stations closely and deliberately reflects the population distribution of Israel. We found that VFRs were consistently first to arrive at the scene of an MCI and greatly increased the number of personnel available to assist with MCI management in urban, suburban, and rural settings.

Conclusions

The VFR program provides an important and effective life-saving resource to supplement emergency first response. Given the known importance of rapid response to trauma, VFRs likely contribute to reduced trauma mortality, although further research is needed in order to examine this question specifically. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:287–294)

Type
Original Research
Copyright
Copyright © Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc. 2018 

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