Preparing for mass casualty events

Emergency services participated in a mass causality simulation at Queenscliff’s Searoad Ferries terminal. (Supplied)

Emergency services came together at a Bellarine Peninsula ferry terminal to undertake a simulated mass causality incident and remain prepared if something happened.

Over 15 paramedics participated in an Emergo Train session, a Swedish simulation system used for emergency management education and training, last week at Queenscliff’s Searoad Ferries terminal.

Ambulance Victoria (AV) Emergency Management planning coordinator Rebecca Hirsch said paramedics responded to a simulated car fire onboard a docked ferry.

“These ferries transport hundreds of vehicles a day, so it’s not an unlikely scenario to prepare for,” she said.

“Thankfully we don’t come across these scenarios regularly but it’s very important we’re prepared to respond if needed.”

Participants were responsible for assessing and treating more than 80 patients with different injuries, with the session observed by Coast Guard, Fire Rescue Victoria, and Victoria Police members.

“With this type of incident there would be a multi-agency response, so it was great have other agencies there to observe how we would respond,” Ms Hirsch said.

“It’s mentally challenging but a lot of fun and a great opportunity to practice our mass casualty skills in a safe and supportive environment.

“They (Searoad Ferries) have been very willing to engage with all of the emergency services agencies and we are looking forward to holding similar training exercises in the future.”

Paramedics were also on hand to teach commuters and Searoad Ferry staff CPR skills while training was underway.

AV runs multiple Emergo Train sessions in each region annually, with all staff encouraged to participate.