Insights from classroom session on Emerging Trends and EMS Implications when responding to and planning for complex attacks

Last week, PEAKE attended and exhibited at the 2016 EMS Today: First Responder & EMS Conference held in Baltimore, MD. The exposition, now in its 34th year, is a leader in providing quality education for emergency medical services. EMS Today 2016 featured 150 sessions and workshops, 167 speakers, more than 32 CEH opportunities and 250+ exhibitors for EMS professionals over the course of the event.
The event kicked off Thursday, February 25 with opening ceremonies and a keynote from retired EMS professional, adventurer and award-winning photographer, Brian O’Malley. The conference highlighted seven tracks including: Basics of Clinical Care, Advanced Clinical Practice, Community Paramedicine, Dynamic & Active Threats, EMS Compass, Leadership and Special Focus. Friday was spent primarily on the exhibit hall floor. Visiting the vendors and seeing of the gadgets and innovations is one of the most engaging aspects of the conference and expo. EMS Today is all about practical ideas and tools that make the job easier and improve outcomes for patients, and many of the displays showed great potential for this.
On Friday, we took the opportunity to sit-in on a classroom session titled Emerging Trends and EMS Implications From the Joint Counter Terrorism Awareness Workshop Series (JCTAWS).  This session was led by George Washington University Director, EMS & Operational Medicine Training, Emergency Health Svcs. Program, Geoffrey Shapiro.  The presentation included trends, issues and best practices that systems face when responding to complex attacks and the training available to mutually responding local, state and federal agencies within a city or region.
The Joint Counter Terrorism Awareness Workshop Series (JCTAWS) is conducted throughout the United States by DHS/FEMA, FBI, and NCTC and provides many benefits to mutual aide agencies including identifying baselines, gaps, prioritizing planning and applying a whole community approach.
As learned in the session, communications challenges that agencies responding to atypical events and complex attacks still face are radio interoperability, degraded cell service and the inability to monitor social and news sites. As Mr. Shapiro stated, “You better have redundant communications”, many attendees, including Tactical Emergency Causality Care (TECC) EMT’s, chimed in discussing the communications challenges they face today including a heavy reliance on cellular networks and devices.
A suggestion made by Mr. Shapiro that jurisdictions must consider while planning for complex attacks, active shooters and atypical events is private company-public sector integration.  Agencies could rely on local private companies to provide assistance and services throughout a crisis or complex attack but incorporating that into their pre-event plan is essential.
Networking is what any conference experience is all about, and there were unlimited opportunities to do so during EMS Today 2016. In addition to first responders, the exposition played host to educators, supervisors/managers, medical directors, and those in the public safety and emergency management fields.   We found the show floor to be steadily busy throughout each day, even while classes were in session. The DC FEMS EMS SUV that we had displayed on the show floor was a big draw, but as we walked the show floor you could see a lot of interaction between vendors and attendees.
The EMS Today: First Responder & EMS Conference was a very successful networking and lead generating conference and exhibition for PEAKE. We look forward to exhibiting next year
Click to watch “ICS at EMS Today 2016”: A Tour of the Show Floor:

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