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Apr 2, 2015

Accident Simulation in Belize City – How Prepared are First Responders?

The response time and how effective you respond to the scene of an accident is critical when it comes to minimizing any casualties or loss of life. It is the responsibility of several agencies, including the police, fire officials and BERT to ensure that victims are readily extricated and taken to medical facilities. Today, the National Fire Service held a simulation exercise in the city and Duane Moody was there. Here’s his report.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Today, the roundabout at the entrance to the George Price Highway was the scene of a traffic accident. Multiple persons were injured after two vehicles collided following a hot pursuit by police officers; one of the vehicles was driven by the suspect. Soon after, the area was cordoned off and security personnel as well as firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians were on scene and got into action. Residents and the media stood by later to find out that it was simply a simulation being carried out by the National Fire Service.

 

Ted Smith

Ted Smith, Fire Chief, Belize National Fire Service

“We had simulated an RTA, a traffic accident. The scenario was simple; the police were chasing a vehicle…the suspect was involved in illegal activity. The vehicle ran under high speed and hit a bobtail butane or LPG truck making a turn at the roundabout and a third vehicle that was coming also got caught in the accident. From both vehicles, the car and the van, had occupants who sustained severe injury as a result of the accident. The bobtail truck, when it was hit at the tail, broke its pipe and caused butane to escape rapidly. The responding unit’s primary role was to ensure that the casualties were safely rescued, but at the same time they needed to neutralize that threat from the LPG that was leaking out.”

 

According to Fire Chief, Ted Smith, the successful response to any scene would require a multiagency approach.

 

Ted Smith

“If you noticed, the police participated fully; BERT Ambulance participated fully; the traffic department of Belize City participated fully and the national fire service. So we had a combination or what you call a multiagency approach in preparing for this exercise and the execution of this exercise. We have what we call an S.O.P., standard operating procedure for an accident so we have that in place, but each situation will be a little different. But the principle of the Standard Operating Procedures will help to implement whatever plan you come up with at the scene.”

 

Although it is only a simulation, the scenario can be very much real and could have been fatal.  While residents would want to assist persons trapped in vehicles, they are asked to refrain from doing so. As per their training, Smith says, firefighters are to think before they act.

 

Ted Smith

“One of the first things we do when we arrive on the ground is to analyze the situation or what we call a size-up so that you have a full mental picture of the situation then you can put together a plan. Everything is to be done in a short amount of time and execute your plan with is to extricate the casualty, neutralize the area, stabilize the vehicle. If there are fuel leaks, you need to neutralize these things before you can think about extricating the casualties and then you extricate the casualties.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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