04/10/06 — Emergency workers to gather business information 'just in case'

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Emergency workers to gather business information 'just in case'

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on April 10, 2006 1:48 PM

If a disaster strikes a Wayne County business, the Office of Emergency Services is ready to handle it -- and it also has a new disaster response trailer, just in case.

Blair Tyndall, the emergency medical services manager, said his emergency medical technicians have been conducting pre-incident surveys of businesses in their ambulance districts to get basic information.

"Not many EMS systems in the state have done this," Tyndall said.

EMS Trailer

News-Argus/Jack Stephens

Blair Tyndall, the Wayne County emergency services manager, shows the county's new disaster response trailer.

EMS crews who aren't on call will gather the information personnel would need if they were called to a business for an explosion or other disaster.

It is information, Tyndall said, "that we hope we never need."

Knowing the basics about a business will help responders, Tyndall said.

"We can be more prepared to respond and be more familiar with the surroundings," he said.

The information will include the number of employees, their work hours, the best routes for rescue personnel to enter and exit, a good location for triage and a landing zone for air support, if needed.

Since January, Tyndall said 175 businesses in Goldsboro and Wayne County have been surveyed. He estimated that there are more than 500 in the county.

Tyndall said the Goldsboro Fire Department has done pre-plans of buildings and "we thought it would be good to do it for EMS. It's a new, innovative thing. I don't know how many others have jumped on the bandwagon."

Tyndall said his office also will survey the county schools, in conjunction with the state Office of Emergency Management Services.

The county EMS office received a $3,000 grant in early 2004 from the Department of Homeland Security to buy a disaster response trailer. Tyndall said the 10-by-12 trailer was bought from Musgrave Auction Co. on U.S. 70 West.

Tyndall thanked several staff members for working on the trailer that "was just an empty shell when we got it."

A year later, the county EMS office got a second Homeland Security grant for $22,000 to equip the trailer. It now has backboards for non-ambulatory patients and those who need spinal stabilization, disposable stretchers, oxygen, tape to set up a field hospital and other items to manage a disaster area.

Tyndall said the trailer could be used at a wreck if there were more casualties than a typical ambulance crew could handle.

The trailer has not been used for a disaster, but it has been taken to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base for an air show and displayed at different volunteer fire departments.

Tyndall said the pre-incident surveys had another benefit as well.

"It is good for EMS employees to see people in the community and to let them know that we're there if we are needed," he said. "It's a good PR tool."