Fire EMS, Technical Rescue

THE CHALLENGE OF MULTICASUALTY HIGH-ANGLE INCIDENTS

Issue 10 and Volume 159.

BY LARRY COLLINS High-angle rescues tend to involve one or two victims-perhaps a hiker who has become stranded on a cliff; individuals in a vehicle that has driven off a mountain road; or other individuals who have gotten themselves into a predicament requiring firefighters and other rescuers to use ropes, cables, capstans, helicopters, and other high-angle rescue methods. Occasionally, however, a high-angle incident also becomes a multi-casualty emergency. When it does, firefighters and other rescuers are faced with competing problems that must be addressed simultaenously: accessing the victims, triaging them in terms of medical need and difficulty of their physical rescue, treating their injuries in high-risk environments, extricating them from vehicles when necessary, packaging them for lifting operations, and extracting them to safety. MOST HIGH-ANGLE INCIDENTS REQUIRE UNIFIED COMMAND Multicasualty, high-angle incidents are challenging to incident commanders, who must coordinate simultaneous critical operations. They must balance the need to treat…

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