By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer
The Clovis Fire Department has acquired a mobile medical trailer through state grants that will be a valued tool in case of a mass casualty incident such as a bus accident, according to Karen Burns of the CFD.
Equipped for triage, or the sorting of patients by the extremity of injury, the trailer even has a small office where patient information can be logged, paperwork started and rescue activities coordinated.
“We have provided these trailers to assure our citizens that we are prepared for the types of large-scale incidents that may happen in our communities — be they natural or man made,” Jan Elliott, the executive director of Eastern New Mexico Emergency Medical Services, said in a news release.
ENMEMS is a nonprofit company that coordinates private contracts with the state of New Mexico.
“It’s an informational resource to us (fire department) that helps us with getting funding for training or trailers, for example,” Burns said.
The $26,000 trailer was funded by bioterrorism hospital preparedness and homeland security grants. As large as a medium-size room, it is pulled by a city pickup truck, Burns said.
Up to 20 critical patients and 20 patients with minor or moderate injuries can be sorted and treated in the new trailer, the release said.
And the benefits come not just to Clovis, but to Curry County and surrounding counties including Roosevelt. The Clovis Fire Department signed a memorandum agreement for the trailer to be used for any mass casualty incident in Curry or surrounding counties not having such equipment, according to Region Three Trauma Coordinator Jerry Deen said.
Such trailers are equipped with medical equipment for handling mass casualties, including 20 backboards, blood pressure cuffs, basic life support, bandages, burn dressings, airways, stethoscopes and ample lighting powered by a portable generator, Deen said.
And the trailer can also be deployed to smaller casualty incidents such as vehicle accidents involving multiple casualties, which is helpful especially when fire-department resources are stressed, said Burns.
“The need was high,” Dean said. “It was all brought on by Sept. 11. That’s why we got part of this money. We want to be prepared.”