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4 min read

Inside Disaster Day: Pulsara's Perspectives from Texas A&M's Student-Led MCI Drill

By Kinsie Clarkson on May 17, 2024

While no one wants to think about the probability of an impending disaster, emergency managers and healthcare professionals know that mass casualty incidents are an eventuality. It’s not if they’ll happen, but when. In order to prepare future healthcare professionals for that day, Texas A&M annually hosts the largest student-led disaster exercise in the world: Disaster Day. 

The Texas A&M School of Nursing started the event in 2008, and it has only grown from there. The event is held at Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service’s (TEEX) Disaster City in College Station. This year, over 700 students participated in the large-scale emergency drill — facing a myriad of disaster scenarios, all rolled into one: an earthquake, a shooting, and floodwaters caused by a tropical storm.

The drill allowed students to practice responding to the incidents from a wide range of angles, including triage, patient care, disaster management, and mental health support. “The scenario they created was absolutely insane—they’ll probably never see something that chaotic in real life,” said Brandon Means, Senior Vice President of Sales at Pulsara, and paramedic and flight nurse. “It went well and was a great sendoff for some of these students into the workforce.”

Topics: Mass Casualty Incidents Incident Management
7 min read

Wristband Scanning: Responding More Efficiently to MCIs

By Team Pulsara on Apr 10, 2024

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article originally appeared on EMS1.com. Special thanks to our guest author, John Erich, for EMS1 BrandFocus Staff.

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No matter the incident’s size, scanning patient wristbands keeps all responders and clinicians united

Managing patients in the middle of a mass-casualty incident can feel like playing the game of telephone. Essential information is often passed from person to person, misheard, misunderstood, changed, lost, or even forgotten in the chaos.

Ideally, patient communication involves one continuous line of accurate, real-time information on each patient, flowing between EMS, hospital teams, public safety, public health, and emergency management personnel. A dedicated patient “channel” streamlines and improves care for routine cases and MCIs.

This is becoming a reality in several states. They’re implementing statewide patient wristband systems and pairing them with Pulsara, a health care communication and logistics platform, to simplify interoperability. Using Pulsara, responders scan patient wristbands to securely, quickly, and conveniently identify the injured, track what’s been done for whom, and provide the next caregiver a complete picture of the patient’s status – uniting all care teams and coordinators around each patient case in real time.

When William Rice, MBA, MLS, LP, market director of EMS and Air Med 12 at St. Joseph Health in Bryan, Texas, first implemented an effort to pair wristbands with Pulsara, he was met with skepticism.

“In the early days of the wristbands, I regularly had to remind folks in the region that they unanimously voted to support this project. People didn’t understand where the wristbands were going or how it would be helpful,” Rice said. “Once we added Pulsara, the value of the wristbands immediately sold itself because anybody who walks up to that wristband and scans it with Pulsara is now part of that patient care record.”

Topics: EMS Mass Casualty Incidents Incident Management
3 min read

Texas A&M Students Lead Disaster Day Simulation

By Team Pulsara on Mar 21, 2024

On March 1st, 2024, Pulsara was honored to participate in the largest student-led disaster drill in the world at Texas A&M’s Disaster Day in College Station, Texas. The team, comprised of students in various healthcare disciplines, used the Pulsara communication platform to manage the incident, including triaging and tracking around 300 patients, documenting treatments, and ordering and delivering meds from the field pharmacy.

The following is an excerpt from an article by the Texas A&M University Health Science Center, originally published on Texas A&M Today on March 1st, 2024. Check out the full article here. 

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Texas A&M University students sorted through the chaos of tropical storm-induced floodwaters, an earthquake and a shooting on Friday in a simulated disaster designed to prepare future health care professionals for large-scale emergencies.

The student-led exercise, held at Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service’s (TEEX) Disaster City in College Station, tested students in a variety of areas, including triage, patient care, mental health support and disaster management.

Started by the Texas A&M School of Nursing in 2008, the training has grown from a small event in the gym of a local church to a daylong disaster simulation involving more than 700 students, over 100 faculty and staff members, and numerous emergency response professionals. Students from Texas A&M schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy and public health, as well as athletic training, psychology and veterinary medicine students and the Corps of Cadets, participated in the drill.

Christine Kaunas, assistant vice president for Interprofessional Practice, Education & Research (IPER) at Texas A&M Health Science Center, said the annual Disaster Day exercise is an important component of preparing students to work together in emergency situations.

“Since 2020 alone, Texas has seen over 15 disasters and related declarations, including wildfires, tropical storms, hurricanes, winter storms, and of course COVID-19. Ensuring that our health professions students are prepared to respond effectively when, not if, a disaster strikes is crucial,” Kaunas said.

Topics: Customer Success Mass Casualty Incidents Incident Management
7 min read

Finding the Funds for Incident Management in Fire

By Team Pulsara on Mar 06, 2024

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article originally appeared on FireRescue1.com. Special thanks to our guest author, Courtney Levin, for FireRescue1 BrandFocus Staff.

When resources are lacking, these grant opportunities can help 

Operating a fire department requires an incredible amount of money, even for small or volunteer agencies. Certain budget line items cannot be sacrificed, while others may have a bit of wiggle room from year to year. Yet no matter how well-funded your department might be, you may feel like there’s never enough money to go around.

A sometimes-forgotten area of financial planning centers around preparation for incident management. While the basics like vehicles and radios may be accounted for, other facets could make a world of difference should a significant event occur.

Whether you’re looking for assistance with incident management training or want to upgrade your department’s communication tools, grant funding may be able to provide the necessary dollars to make your agency’s wishes a reality.

Topics: Mass Casualty Incidents Funding Incident Management Fire
8 min read

[UPCOMING WEBINAR] Streamlining Crisis Response: A Deep Dive Into MCIs And Large Events

By Nathan Williams on Sep 13, 2023

Looking to enhance your EMS team’s ability to coordinate care and communication during Mass Casualty Incidents (MCIs) and preplanned large events? Join our upcoming webinar where an expert panel of EMS leaders from TX, CO, and CA will share their insights and strategies on how to effectively streamline communication and improve patient outcomes.

Through case studies, discussion, and answering your real-time questions, learn how today’s leaders are tackling the distinctive challenges in crisis response to provide real-time connectivity among various teams, secure messaging, and shared patient view for improved situational awareness. We’ll discuss the new world of coordinating resources and triaging patients during MCIs, and how it has simplified communication and collaboration during large events, ultimately resulting in improved patient outcomes.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn from the best and enhance your team’s ability to coordinate patient care, communicate with other EMS teams, and make critical decisions with confidence and ease. Register now and get ready to take your skills to the next level!

Topics: Emergency Management Mass Casualty Incidents Incident Management
5 min read

Practice Makes Perfect: Simplify MCI Management with Regularly Used Tools

By Team Pulsara on Jun 14, 2023

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article originally appeared on FireRescue1.com. Special thanks to our guest author, Courtney Levin, for FireRescue1 BrandFocus Staff.

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Building muscle memory eases stress during critical emergencies

According to the U.S. Census, 29.15 million people lived in Texas in 2020. Estimates for 2022 show that figure has likely surpassed the 30 million mark as the Lone Star State continues to see a huge influx of new residents. Providing emergency medical care to that many people is an extraordinarily tall task, but one the state has worked to improve upon in recent years.

The tipping point came in 2020 as COVID-19 presented the United States with unprecedented medical challenges. Residents in Texas who needed specialized hospital care due to the virus were often caught in a tangle of delays, as medical teams weren’t always working from the same playbook.

“We heard stories across the state where multiple fixed-wing aircraft showed up at the wrong airport to pick up the wrong patient,” said Joey Branton, senior vice president of strategic initiatives at Pulsara. “They were making a minimum of 30 phone calls per patient transfer.”

While the pandemic put immense pressure on first responders and the health care system, mass casualty incidents like active shooters and natural disasters didn’t stop. It quickly became clear that those in Texas needed a better way to manage patients from start to finish.

A statewide wristband system was put in place to give every patient a unique ID that could be used across organizations. But it was the coupling of that initiative with the Pulsara platform which enabled fire and EMS providers to significantly improve their level of care.

Pulsara helps streamline communication between first responders during single-patient events and mass casualty incidents. As with any skill, confidence in using this tool comes through the muscle memory built up through regular use. “First responders in Texas realized to be truly proficient at using the efficiencies provided by the Pulsara platform, they needed to use it every day,” said Branton.

Topics: EMS Regional Systems of Care Emergency Management Mass Casualty Incidents Incident Management Fire
6 min read

[UPCOMING WEBINAR] Leveraging Technology in Hazard Response: Advancements and Future Trends

By Nathan Williams on May 04, 2023

How today’s emergency management and healthcare leaders are using modern tech for patient tracking and response management around pre-planned events and major incidents

Efficient communication is critical during mass casualty incidents, hurricane evacuations, MVAs with multiple patients, or even special events. Historically, the difficulty in sharing information between various responding organizations during hazard events has made incident management challenging—not to mention when the incident extends across cities, regions, or states. New advancements in communication and patient tracking technology are transforming response capabilities, however—quickly becoming the new standard for emergency management. 

Join this exclusive roundtable discussion where Texas and Colorado emergency management and healthcare leaders will share:

  • How and why they are deploying these systems locally and statewide
  • The benefits and opportunities they’re seeing
  • Where they see the future of emergency management communication and coordination heading 
Guest Presenters
  • Hilary Watt, CEO/CFO/Governmental Affairs, Coastal Bend Regional Advisory Council (CBRAC) in Corpus Christi, TX.
  • E. Stein Bronsky, MD, Co-Chief Medical Director, Colorado Springs Fire Department, Co-Chief Medical Director, El Paso County, CO American Medical Response (AMR), and Medical Director, El Paso-Teller County 911 Authority in the Colorado Springs, CO area.
Hosts:
  • Kate Leatherby, Sales VP - West at Pulsara
  • Brandon Means, VP of Medical Operations at Pulsara.

WEBINAR EVENT DETAILS


Date: Wednesday, May 17th, 2023

Time: 11 AM ET |  10 AM CT |  9 AM MT |  8 AM PT

Cost: FREE

Webinar Recording? Yes. If you can’t attend the live event or want to watch it again, all registrants will receive a link to the live recording after the event.

 

- CLICK HERE TO REGISTER NOW -

Topics: Emergency Management Incident Management
4 min read

Pulsara Partners with PDC to Streamline Communication Between EMS, Hospital Personnel, and Emergency Management

By Team Pulsara on May 02, 2023

Patient tracking during large-scale events is a challenge. Patients may be passed between first responders, ground transport, air transport, and then transferred from one facility to another. For routine calls with individual patients, it’s feasible to track who transported the patient and where they ended up. But in mass-casualty incidents and large-scale hazards, chaotic scenes and large numbers of patients make it difficult to keep track of each patient, their information, and their ultimate destination. 

In order to solve these problems, some states are using a new approach to patient tracking: statewide wristbands with barcodes that can help track patients across organizations by functioning as a universal patient ID. 

PDC, a global manufacturer and leader in healthcare identification, is partnering with Pulsara, the leading telehealth, communication, and patient logistics platform, to offer wristbands for tracking patients within the Pulsara platform. 

Topics: Press Incident Management
6 min read

4 Ways Networked Communication Builds A System Of Care That Scales

By Kinsie Clarkson on Apr 27, 2023

Embracing Modern Technology Will Pave the Way for the Future of EMS Communications 

On February 15th, the National Association of State EMS Officials (NASEMSO) presented a webinar hosted by Corey Ricketson, Pulsara Sales Vice President - Texas, and Eric Epley, Executive Director of the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council (STRAC). During the discussion, Eric and Corey discussed what it takes to build a true system of care that scales.

During the webinar, they told the story of how COVID changed Texas's approach to patient communication, logistics, and load balancing, and how creating a statewide wristband system is revolutionizing their approach to patient care and large-scale incident response. 

Watch the full webinar below, and read on for the top four takeaways from the discussion!

Topics: Incident Management
6 min read

6 Ways Pulsara Can Improve Major Incident Response

By Team Pulsara on Mar 15, 2023

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article originally appeared on firechief.com. Special thanks to our guest author, John Erich, for FireRescue1 BrandFocus Staff.

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Triage at major events can be slow, and tracking patients can be difficult – Pulsara’s new functionality is aimed at improving both experiences

As it prepared for takeoff, the 737 couldn’t avoid the speeding rental truck that came crashing toward it through the fence beyond the airport tarmac. The resulting collision killed 14 of its passengers and crew, as well as the driver of the truck, and left 56 more injured.

First responders from multiple agencies rushed to the scene that morning last October at Preston Smith International Airport in Lubbock, Texas, to respond to the full-scale mass-casualty exercise. Medical personnel triaged the wounded and gave them special armbands the state now uses for patients experiencing time-sensitive emergencies, including victims of mass-casualty incidents. The bands contained individual barcodes that, with a quick scan, would take any responder at the scene to a dedicated care channel for that patient, where the provider could then enter the patient’s identifying and treatment information.

The testing of that technology – new functionality from Pulsara designed to help responders triage and track patients in major incidents – was one of the goals of the exercise, which simulated the kind of MCI that often overwhelms unprepared systems.

“We were looking for ways to improve patient tracking and incident awareness for all command staff on scene,” said Logistics Chief and Emergency Preparedness Specialist Brent Fox, NREMT-P, of University Medical Center EMS in Lubbock. “Pulsara allowed everyone on scene to have full visibility from any location once they joined the incident.”

That quick, easy shared awareness – with everyone who’s part of the response having access to the same information – is among several important benefits of the new tool responders to the Lubbock exercise got to experience firsthand.

Topics: EMS Mass Casualty Incidents Multiple Patient Incidents Incident Management
4 min read

[PRESS RELEASE] Pulsara Releases Incident Management Functionality

By Team Pulsara on Nov 29, 2022

New feature assists with triage and tracking of patients during a crisis

Bozeman, Mont., November 29, 2022 — Pulsara, the leading telehealth, communication, and logistics platform that unites teams and technologies across organizations during dynamic events, announced today the official release of new functionality designed for incident management. The new platform capabilities are designed to help triage and track patients during mass casualty incidents (MCIs), multiple patient incidents (MPIs), floods, evacuations, and other disasters, as well as major planned events (e.g., concerts, sporting events, etc.). The platform provides responders with a clear line of communication around every patient on a familiar platform they use every day for patient care. When a stress event occurs, no additional preparation or training is required; everyone can continue using the same platform to respond confidently and efficiently in a crisis.

The first major test of the new functionality occurred in October in Lubbock, Texas, as the FAA conducted a full-scale crisis exercise at Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport. First responders from multiple agencies assembled to respond to a drill scenario that involved a rental truck crashing through tarmac fencing and colliding with a plane that was preparing to take off, injuring 56 passengers. During the simulation, first responders and city agencies used Pulsara's Incident Management functionality to enter patient information, communicate, and coordinate care. 

Topics: Press Mass Casualty Incidents Multiple Patient Incidents Incident Management