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PREPAREDNESS and INITIAL MANAGEMENT of EMERGENCIES IN EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS

Education institutions are prone to life threatening emergencies, including natural and man-made disasters. Since educational institutions harbour a large number of children and adults a wide range of medical problems can also arise among them.  It is also well known that mass medical emergencies can occur at educational institutions affecting the innocent children.  These mass casualties might occur due to pre-existing health problems, violence, injuries, accidents, fire and unexpected natural calamities.  They can affect not only students but also adults who teach and supervise them.  Therefore it is essential to initiate a program to prepare them to provide optimal pre-hospital care before the act of medical relief is rendered.

Need for the Contingency Plan:

Recent instances in the country like Kumbakonam school fire accident and also the several periodic bomb threats in the schools prompted CTC to initiate this plan. This contingency plan is primarily aimed at creating Awareness and Preparedness to face such eventualities especially in the educational institutions
These institutions merit such preparedness for the following reasons.

  1. They harbor large number of children under one roof
  2. Different age groups with variable degree of vulnerability
  3. Some age groups are too young to react to such situations.
  4. Closed environment
  5. Recent increase in such calamities and threats
  6. Though less frequent, school happens to be the known location for largest pediatric emergencies.

On the other hand there is a wide variability in the infrastructure, facilities and resources that school can mobilize in our country to face such emergencies.  There is an universal lack of awareness and preparedness in our country. A  coordinated action plan is therefore  essential and the need of the hour.

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Need-of-the-Hour:

It is absolutely essential that such a program is initiated in every educational institution across the country to create awareness and preparedness to face such eventualities. Regular training, First-Aid facilities and periodic drills are required for capacity building and preparedness within the school to adequately respond to such emergencies.  This should be an ongoing program for both teachers and students.
CTC has evolved a program to meet these requirements in our schools. It is envisaged that active participation of all the schools will avert further tragedies.

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Definition of an Emergency:

A wide variety of medical emergencies can occur within the school.  They can be either simple which do not interfere with the routine working of school or complex emergencies requiring disruption, closure or evacuation of the school.  The emergencies can accordingly be within due to   falls, sports related injuries, any medical emergency due to pre-disposing illness, fire or building collapse.
External factors can also cause emergencies eg. food poisoning,  riots etc.

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Preparation of a Contingency Plan:

Managing an emergency broadly involves two principles

  1. Pre-hospital care (the care that should be provided within the school)
  2. Medical help (which can be provided by the professionals in either the ambulance or in the hospital)

 

Good pre-hospital care is necessary to improve the overall outcome. It involves

  1. Recognition of the emergency,
  2. Raising the alarm
  3. Activation of the plan,
  4. Evacuation to safe area and resuscitation where ever needed
  5. Safe Transportation

CTC has initiated the following steps proactively to create awareness and preparedness for any medical emergency or natural disasters that may occur within school campus:

CTC will conduct first aid training to ensure students can help each other in emergencies

  1. Fire drills on a regular basis
  2. CTC will equip every school with a first-aid kit, spinal board and a panic button with emergency siren that will be linked to the CTC control room. This will enable CTC to take immediate action and co-ordinate with the ambulance network, police force, fire brigade, hospitals and volunteers to provide a well-networked professional response.
  3. CTC will interact with schools in Bangalore to obtain information about electrical installations, fire hazard areas, open grounds, floor plans, Entrance and exit areas, emergency exit routes, etc., to enable CTC to access the school and rescue the children and the staff in the event of emergencies.
  4. CTC has drafted a manual with all the protocols for disaster which will serve as a guide book for any school, and help expand the services to other cities

This initiative will help young minds understand the importance of pre hospital care, be prepared for any eventualities and also proactively help others in the-need-of-the-hour.

Comprehensive Trauma Consortium is a voluntary, non-profit organization rendering PRE-HOSPITAL CARE services through a network of dedicated ambulances with trained paramedics in and around Bangalore and on the highways.

Incepted in March 2000, this service initiative has rescued over 24,000 people in emergency conditions, absolutely free of charge.
Owing to the rescues within the ‘Golden Hour’ this service has rescued the PRE-HOSPITAL DEATH RATE from 32 % in March 2000 to less than 3% today.

We look forward to your support to train and equip the schools in and around Bangalore City, such that our future citizens are well-equipped to face any emergency and save precious lives. Here is an opportunity for you to get involved in some social work. We appeal to all college students, business men/women, and housewives to spare at least two afternoons or more per month to help with our school program.  This will be purely a voluntary service. We invite you to join us for an orientation presented by Dr. Venkataramana, Founder, Director and Managing Trustee of Comprehensive Trauma Consortium.   
Place:  Manipal Hospital    Date:   12th October 2006.    Time:  02:00 to 04:00 pm
We shall look forward to meeting you.

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