Critical Importance of the Medical Unit

Medical Unit

In Critical Importance of the Medical Unit I share how the Medical Unit is, to me, the most important element of the Incident Management Team (IMT) structure.

The Medical Unit Leader is the IMT’s Corpsman (Hooyah Navy!). Here are key elements for MEDLs to consider before, during and after deployment.

On July 25, 2008, 18-year-old National Park Service wildland firefighter, Andy Palmer, was fatally injured in a tree falling accident on the Eagle fire burning on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in California. Three hours and twenty-six minutes after he was injured, emergency medical personnel pronounced Andy dead at the Redding Airport. He never made it to a hospital.” from National Park Service

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Three house and twenty-six minutes – This should not have happened. Evacuation should have happened much sooner. After Andy’s death the Dutch Creek Protocols were created. Andy’s unfortunate death provided a catalyst for all of us. It reminds us all to take the proper steps forward to be ready to support our teams when something goes wrong.

  • Read more details about the Dutch Creek Incident from the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) here
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