Emergency planner: We have to be prepared for anything

August 05, 2019 07:34 PM

ALBANY - Sad to say, we have reached the point in America where no one can assume "it won't happen here."

"We're cognizant of the risks and the vulnerabilities out there and we're making plans and protocols based around that with the understanding that something is likely to happen in our region," said Scott Heller, director of emergency preparedness at Albany Medical Center.


Heller's job is to constantly monitor mass shootings and mass casualty events around the country, speak with health care administrators in those grieving cities, learn what was done right or wrong, and then implement a mass casualty plan and protocol here in the Capital Region.

"We really have to be prepared for pretty much anything," Heller stated. "It could be a small scale emergency with only a few victims or a very large number that has an even bigger impact."

Whatever the takeaway might be from El Paso or Dayton, Heller says the key to success in the Capital Region will be practice, practice, practice.

"There's two ways to test your plan," Heller asserted. "The real thing or the drill. So we'd much rather do it obviously in a drill, learn what we can from it before an actual event happens."

"You never know where you're going to be if something bad is going to happen," says Tom Moran, of Albany Med's Trauma Program.

Moran wants to make sure laypersons will be part of the medical emergency response if the unthinkable were to happen here. He teaches civilians how to treat hemorrhage as part of the "Stop the Bleed" program.

"They may not be an expert but when the time comes, hopefully they're familiar with it to be able to act quickly to stop the bleeding."

Several months after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, "Stop the Bleed" was born. The idea is to train immediate responders, individuals who are present at the scene who can immediately control bleeding with their hands or equipment that may be available, thus contributing to a victim's chance for survival.

MORE INFORMATION: Albany Med Trauma Program website


Dan Levy

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