Contra Costa County Adopts Emergency Response Plan
Contra Costa County has adopted a new countywide disaster preparedness and emergency response plan, the Contra Costa Times reports.
County officials said the Emergency Medical Services Multi-Casualty Incident Plan improves communication among first responders to disasters involving large numbers of victims.
Officials also reassigned and more clearly defined responsibilities for participants in the plan, including paramedics and hospitals.
Under the new plan, all hospitals in the county must accept at least six patients, and paramedics no longer have to call ahead for a hospital's approval.
It replaces a 1983 plan that lacked an annual review process, regular training and drills.
Art Lathrop, medical services director for Contra Costa Health Services, said the "major change" from the county's former plan "is a broader definition of multi-casualty to include much smaller events." He added, "The advantage is it gives more opportunities to implement the plan and use it in real-life situations, so when there is a larger event, it's not foreign to people" (Fraley, Contra Costa Times, 7/2).