Major Incident Planning and Support (MIP+S) Level 2

80 videos, 4 hours and 32 minutes

Course Content

Supporting families

Video 34 of 80
3 min 18 sec
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Another thing that quite often gets overlooked is what happens, for instance, in a stadium where we get family members, numerous family members together and a major incident takes place? One or two of those family members may have been critically injured. One or two may even have been killed, but we have got to factor in the family members that were involved and who are there as walking, wounded or potentially not injured at all. They are going to want to get back to their kith and kin, their friends and their family, and how do we action that? How do we look after that? Because if we are not careful, they would give us an extra problem. Again, Justin, what's your feeling on how you would handle family members where we have had potentially fatal and there is a couple of family members involved that are not injured?

I think that is an important point. So first of all, actually, where you have family members that are survivors, I.e, not injured, that is probably slightly easier to deal with. You need to attach a Family Liaison or a Family Welfare Officer to them. You need to have an area to put those people. You need to keep them informed about what is going on. In general terms, you gotta look after... In as much as it is your incident, it is their family, their kith and kin, and they are probably far more emotionally invested in this than you are as a Commander. As a Commander, you tend to be a bit more dispassionate because you have to deal with the situation in hand anyway.

And where it becomes in a little more difficult, is where you have got people from the same family group that have different levels of injury. As Medics, we like to send the right patient to the right place at the right time. In other words, we are going to send our P1's to the major trauma centres, P2's to trauma units, and P3's to our local emergency hospitals, but if you have got a severely injured child who is going to have to go to a pediatric major trauma centre and you have got a mother who has got a few cuts and bruises, you are not going to separate them and send them in separate directions. You are going to have to bend your own rules because your chances of separating the mother from the child are exceptionally remote. You might as well just accept that as the outset and adjust your casualty regulation plan to accommodate that.

I think the conclusion, and really what we are saying here is that if you can, you need to keep family groups together where absolutely possible, because if you separate them all you create is two problems. For instance, as we were just talking about the child, if we send the child to one hospital and the mother or the father to another hospital, we have got two patients who are not only injured, but now they are mentally injured, they are mentally stressed, and they literally won't settle and they won't heal and they won't improve until we actually put the family unit back together again. If we take them to the same hospital, their injuries will be far, far easier dealt with and their mental torture and mental stress will be massively reduced and where possible, we keep the family group together and look after them as one unit rather than separate and split, because as soon as you do that, your problems just expand.