Natural disasters leave catastrophic outcomes to people, properties, and the environment. Many casualties require immediate medical attention when these disasters hit a remote town, suburb, or metropolitan. Emergency response teams might not penetrate the location due to bridge collapse and road blockages due to the impact of various calamities.

Furthermore, local hospitals, clinics, and shelters face significant challenges; limited medical staff, supplies, and equipment cater to all the wounded and the sick. Emergency medical shelters are essential to apply first aid to injuries, admit high-risk individuals, conduct assessments, and monitor them until they are transferred to a proper medical facility or hospital. 

In this new era, medical advancement in technology has created alternatives and methods to ensure that in the event of natural disasters or a pandemic, medical responses will be given promptly to those in need. Deployable field hospitals like modern emergency medical shelters and medicines delivered by drones have drastically changed the medical response to calamities for the better. 

Here are more benefits of an emergency medical shelter: 

  • As A Triage

Emergency medical shelters can act as a triage entry point before efforts are made for specific patients to be sent to the main hospital. All emergency medical shelters possess their standard operating procedure (SOP). Medical staff is divided into teams according to their specializations and expertise. Non-medical staff and volunteers are also needed in assisting and transferring patients. 

Triage works by categorizing patients into the type or severity of illness or injury, possible prognosis, and according to the available medical resources and interventions that can be performed in the shelter. It is only imperative to sort out severely injured patients from mildly hurt and sick individuals. 

Nowadays, personal information, demographic, triage classification, and preliminary diagnosis of patients may be put in the health database system to be forwarded to the accommodating hospital. It is very efficient and reliable for the hospital team to create their plan of care and intervention.

  • Catering Of Casualties 

After the triage, the entire emergency team attends to the patients based on the evaluations made. Here are the following medical interventions:

  • First Aid 

There are different types of first aid approaches performed, may it be for limb fracture, burns, cuts, lacerations, and bruising. Examples are pain management control, tourniquet for minor fractures and wounds, proper wound dressing for burns, cuts, scrapes, and icing for bruises. These methods are crucial to category three patients to prevent worsening injury or condition and induce fast recovery.

One of the challenges in an emergency medical shelter is the scarcity of first aid kits due to the surge of injured individuals. However, the technological advancement in improving first aid is the drone delivery system, making it easier for the medical team to request additional medical and food supplies. 

  • High–Risk Patients

In the event of catastrophes, individuals with pre-existing conditions such as cancer, systemic diseases, and genetic disorders require oxygen tank consumption, tubes, and attachments or life support. Pregnant women must also be put under monitoring for their vulnerability to premature birth due to extreme stress. 

Portable oxygen concentrator machines, heplocks, and other transportable machinery make it convenient for sick individuals. Patients can be monitored, get treatments, and be administered with their medications even in the shelter. 

  • Immediate Medical Intervention

Patients in category one or two must be given priority amongst all – severed limbs, skull fractures, penetration wounds, and internal bleeding that progressively leads to multiple organ failures. For red tag patients, emergency response helicopters or ambulances must be deployed immediately.

 Medical interventions depend solely on the availability of specialized doctors, medical resources, and portable surgical equipment. If accessible, immediate surgery must be done at the emergency medical shelter. These approaches lower the death toll and promote the preservation of lives. 

  • Temporary Shelter for Other Victims

Due to damaged homes and possible power outages, people of all ages seek a warm place to stay and find food and water. Calamities in densely populated areas usually have an overwhelming number of victims looking for shelter. Emergency medical shelters offer families temporary accommodation until the local government takes them to proper disaster response. 

  • To Contain Infectious Diseases

The current generation has witnessed the effects of an epidemic. Potentially contagious and infected people must be evaluated and monitored thoroughly. If hospitals cannot accommodate patients anymore or in locations such as rural areas, patients must be isolated in medical shelters to reduce the possibility of transmissions. 

Medical Innovations For Emergency Response

This modern era has proved that medical innovations go beyond the walls of medical research laboratories, manufacturing factories, and hospitals. From the development of various cures and treatments, advancements are also made in portable diagnostic machines, lasers, procedures, drone delivery systems, and deployable field hospitals.

Emergency medical shelters have been modified to withstand natural threats such as strong winds, snow loads, and heavy rains. They are powered by generators and have heating and air-conditioning systems. Science and technology have paved the way to save more lives. 

How Do You Classify Patients?

  • Category 1 or Red Tag:

The patient is in critical condition due to an excessive threat to life or limb. Patients need to be thoroughly assessed and monitored; medical intervention must be given. They are the first candidates to be immediately transferred to a hospital.

  • Category 2 or Yellow Tag

The patient is in serious condition due to a potential threat to life or limb, but he is stable due to primary medical intervention.

  • Category 3 or Green Tag

Minor injuries have been given first aid, and over-health status is stable. Patients may be in distress or shock; hence vital signs are constantly monitored. Sick individuals may also fall in this category; presence of pre-existing severe conditions such as cancer or systemic disorder and individuals who are oxygen dependent. 

  • Category 4 or Black Tag: Expectant or Disease. Emergency medical shelters may also have a temporary mortuary for the deceased.

The Take-Away

Natural disasters are unforeseeable and cataclysmic—inadequate and incompetent emergency response results in higher death tolls. Remote areas, suburbs, and densely populated areas cannot be penetrated easily after a calamity. The presence of emergency medical shelters is highly beneficial to cater to the various medical needs of the patients since there may not be enough time to get the seriously ill and injured individuals to the nearest hospital. Medical innovations and technology advancements have significantly impacted emergency response approaches leading to more saved lives and longer life expectancies. Under these circumstances, time is of the essence – preservation of life is the top-tier goal. 

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