SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — As several popular events prepare to kick off around the Valley, first responders are training for a worst-case scenario.
Several agencies gathered at Scottsdale Stadium on Tuesday, including Scottsdale Fire Department, Buckeye Fire Department and Tempe Fire Medical Rescue Department, to train for a mass casualty incident.
The focus of the drill was an app that should help make finding loved ones easier amid a disaster.
“We're testing out a proof-of-concept to see how we can better track our victims who might be involved in an incident and then reunify with their families,” said Andrea Glass, the assistant fire chief of Tempe Fire Medical Rescue Department.
The app, called MC Trac, allows first responders to track the status and location of victims of a mass casualty incident. This allows firefighters and police to keep tabs on people who are rushed to a hospital during incidents such as mass shootings, terror attacks or some form of natural disaster.
“We try to save as many lives as possible,” Glass said. “We're focused on treating and transporting these people to the hospital. Then once they're at the hospital, we can start to track them and see where they're located, because we have so many hospitals in this system.”
The app works by first responders entering information about the victims they treat on the scene of a disaster. Loved ones can then scan a QR code to access the app to learn of that person’s location and condition. Families can also use a QR code to enter information about a missing loved one during an incident.
“We want to be able to have a better process in place that we can direct them [family members] and that we can help guide them. The other part [Family Assistance QR code] is for them to be able to enter in information and have some type of purpose to do something to help find their loved one, instead of feeling helpless, which is incredibly important,” Glass said.
The MC Trac app is planned to be used in areas where families will gather in the aftermath of an incident, with the proper QR codes posted, and personnel available to help with the app. The drill held on Tuesday gives first responders a chance to run the app through the paces, although Glass said the app is available to roll out immediately if needed.
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