In Disasters

Steady Help in Disasters and Health Crises

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We’re the people who make sure the folks on the front line are prepared to get the medical resources they need in times of disaster. If a hospital needs medical supplies, we’re on it. If a road is shut down and medical workers can’t get to their jobs, we’ll make it happen. If a catastrophe in one county requires help from another county, we’ll get them there. Our disaster planning, response coordination, and real-time supply chain support streamlines the way multiple agencies work together, preventing fragmentation and providing better outcomes for all.

A Strategic Response is a Stronger Response

We coordinate and oversee the response to large-scale medical emergencies that come with things like pandemics and natural disasters. This includes dispatching and coordinating emergency medical personnel and resources, such as ambulances, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians so that they work together to save the greatest number lives.

During large-scale disasters with a significant number of casualties, our agencies manage mass casualty incidents. We may help establish incident command structures, implement triage systems, and coordinate the efforts of multiple agencies and organizations involved in the response.

Disaster Medical Response

LEMSAs develop and oversee medical disaster and multi-casualty procedures which are based on the Incident Command System (ICS) principles framework established in California and nationally. While we don’t directly facilitate the integration of all components of the emergency medical services system – other agencies handle that – LEMSAs do plan for the provision and use of medical mutual aid.

When it comes to rapidly obtaining resources during a disaster or mass-casualty event, a LEMSA administrator will act jointly with emergency services leaders, health officers, and other system stakeholders to ensure the development of a comprehensive medical and health disaster plan for the operational area. This comprehensive plan covers some 17 different areas of disaster response, from assessing immediate medical needs to ensuring food and clean drinking water supplies to handling hazardous materials.

Specifically, as it is related to emergency medical services, LEMSAS must ensure that at a minimum, the plan addresses the following core functions:

  • Establish effective, reliable, interoperable communications between EMS, incident command, public health, and healthcare facilities
  • Activate the Disaster Medical and Health System and notify key positions; initiate recall of personnel to staff spare ambulances and provide immediate surge capability
  • Assess the need for additional medical resources (mutual aid)
  • Ability to acquire, allocate, mobilize, and support additional resources (mutual aid)
  • Activate ambulance strike teams
  • Submit situation status reports to appropriate channels/levels
  • Activate medical surge plans, procedures, and protocols
  • Manage prehospital patient distribution and patient tracking
  • Track use and assignments of personnel, equipment, and other non-disposable medical resources
  • Transform the prehospital system to disaster status
  • Maintain an EMS resource inventory for the system