Stark County Gets Mass-Casualty Trailers

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Volfirefighter

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Copy & Paste From The Canton Repository:

An airliner crash. A collapsed high school bleacher. A tour bus accident.

Last year, victims likely would have depended on emergency crews bringing whatever supplies they had on board or could pick up along the way.

A couple of backboards from here. A few triage units from there. Possibly a decontamination shelter from somewhere else.

Now, Stark County’s Hazardous Materials Response Unit has four 8-by-18-foot trailers that each contain enough equipment for paramedics to treat 100 severely injured patients.

ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT

“This is something we have been talking about for years,” said Tim Warstler, director of the Stark County Emergency Management Agency. “It’s one of those things that you really hope you don’t ever have to use. But if you do, then you are really glad you have it.”

He said the trailers, which are similar to ones Massillon and Perry Township bought through a donation, will carry the additional equipment that local emergency crews can’t stock on an ambulance.

“Nobody has the money to go out and get all the specialized equipment for the one time they may need it,” Warstler said.

Each trailer cost $68,000 and was funded by a U.S. Homeland Security grant, Warstler said. After some final inventory, the trailers will be stationed at Canton City, Jackson Township, Minerva and Plain Township fire departments. Those departments have agreed to house the trailers and drive them to wherever they are needed. The county still owns and maintains the insurance on them.

“We kept three centralized in the county to go anyplace,” he said. “We also put one in the far west because of the time it takes to get emergency crews there.”

Jackson Township Fire Chief Ted Heck said the mass casualty trailers “open a lot of abilities to function more efficiently and better respond to other communities when necessary.”

WHAT’S ON THEM

Each of the trailers have stacked plastic totes that line one side. They contain various medical supplies — rubber gloves, splints, backboards, seat collars, thermal blankets, face masks, body bags, hot packs, cold packs, stethoscopes and trauma totes.

“There might be one trauma kit on an ambulance right now because that’s what they normally need,” Warstler said.

The opposite side of the trailer contains the equipment needed for a portable shower house that could be used to rinse chemicals from a person’s clothing. It has enough room for eight separate shower stalls.

Warstler said the shower system also includes a heater to warm the water. It’s a feature that Buck Adams, director of Medina County’s Emergency Management Agency, said people will appreciate this fall and winter.

“This is Northeast Ohio,” said Adams, whose county is one that Stark studied before buying its trailers and inventory. “If I hit you with water from a fire hydrant for 15 minutes, and that is 58 degrees, you would be downright cold.”

He said Medina County, which endured the steam-powered tractor explosion in 2001 at the Medina County Fairgrounds, hasn’t needed to use its decontamination unit since buying it in 2005 or its mass casualty trailers since purchasing them this spring.
 
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