You have volunteered to be a member of an AUSMAT team. An 8.5 magnitude earthquake has struck Papua New Guinea causing massive destruction to the capital of Port Moresby. A state of disaster has been declared and call made for international aid. You have been asked to join the team. In no more than 400 words, describe the dangers would may be exposed to at the site, the precautions you would need to take prior to leaving and the follow-up you would receive after the event. Use the information provided to support your discussion and provide references.
As a volunteer paramedic of the Australian Matriculation Programme (AUSMAT) who has been stationed in Papua New Guinea to respond to an 8.5 magnitude earthquake which has recently devastated its capital city, Port Moresby, there are definitely a lot of dangers that I would be exposed to in the course of administering my duties.
I would be exposed to a lot of deadly pathogens from sanitary sewer systems that have broken down as a result of the earthquake, for example the Vibrio Cholerae pathogen that causes cholera. Related to this danger is the exposure to pathogens that are blood borne.
Another danger that I would potentially face would be that of exposed electrical wiring that may still be energized. The earthquake would most certainly have destroyed the capital’s electrical wiring systems leaving of energized wires freely exposed.
Another potential danger is exposure to airborne dust and smoke containing harmful elements like silica and asbestos which have adverse effects o the respiratory system. Apart from these elements, I could also be exposed to other hazardous materials that include battery acid, leaking fuel and ammonia.
The other huge danger is the natural gas and fuel risks that may create a toxic and flammable environment.
Finally, there is the danger of secondary collapses. These secondary collapses may result from vibrations, aftershocks and explosions.
Potential follow up activities I would receive after the incident would include the provision of healthcare and hygiene services (basically a health assessment) to ensure that am still fit. In addition, counseling and a psychological support session is paramount. This is because of the various psychological tensions I may still be having after experiencing the effects of the earthquake disaster firsthand. The sessions are to essentially maintain the morale of the disaster response members.
You are first car to a bus versus truck crash on the corner of Princes and Dukes Highways at Tailem Bend, SA. The bus, which was struck by the truck on the right hand side, had the entire right wall torn out, and came to rest on its left hand side blocking the southbound lanes of the Duke Highway. When you investigate the scene you find that the head count is 14 patients. Provide a complete SitRep using the M.E.T.H.A.N.E method
Situation Report (SitRep)
Coker, N., Aehlert, B., & Vroman, R 2012, Workbook for paramedic practice today: Above and beyond, Oxford University Press, Melbourne.
Donlon, R. A. 2012, Haiti: Earthquake and Response. Nova Science Publishers, New York.
Earthquake Engineering Research Institute 1986, Earthquake response plan. The Institute, El Cerrito.
Gray, S. A 2007, A paramedic's diary: Life & death on the street, Monday Books, Rugby.
Newport Beach Fire Department Community Emergency Response Team 2011, Disaster Preparation, viewed May 31, 2013,
Smith, E. C., & Monash University 2009, Paramedic perception of risk and willingness to work during disasters: A qualitative and quantitative analysis, Monash University Press.