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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.
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.
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.
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)
Trauma systems have been widely implemented across Canada, but access to trauma care remains a challenge for much of the population. This study aims to develop and validate a model to quantify the accessibility of definitive care within one provincial trauma system and identify populations with poor access to trauma care.
A geographic information system (GIS) was used to generate models of pre-scene and post-scene intervals, respectively. Models were validated using a population-based trauma registry containing data on prehospital time intervals and injury locations for Nova Scotia (NS). Validated models were then applied to describe the population-level accessibility of trauma care for the NS population as well as a cohort of patients injured in motor vehicle collisions (MVCs).
Predicted post-scene intervals were found to be highly correlated with documented post-scene intervals (β 1.05, p<0.001). Using the model, it was found that 88.1% and 42.7% of the population had access to Level III and Level I trauma care within 60 minutes of prehospital time from their residence, respectively. Access for victims of MVCs was lower, with 84.3% and 29.7% of the cohort having access to Level III and Level I trauma care within 60 minutes of the location of injury, respectively.
GIS models can be used to identify populations with poor access to care and inform service planning in Canada. Although only 43% of the provincial population has access to Level I care within 60 minutes, the majority of the population of NS has access to Level III trauma care.
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