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Mobile Medical Unit helps Richmond Hospital clinicians practice and prepare for disasters


Dr. Mondor outside the unit at the MMU warehouse.

Hope for the best, plan for the worst.

 This old and wise expression was put into practice when PHSA's Mobile Medical Unit (MMU) recently deployed to provide its Applied Disaster Medicine (ADM) course to clinicians from Richmond Hospital (RH). The course teaches participants about caring for patients in disasters with a goal to lessen the impact, increase survival, and maintain continuity of health services in the community.

From April 29 to May 1, the MMU team collaborated with our Vancouver Coastal Health partners and Health Emergency Management BC to provide customized education and a simulation disaster exercise to 42 clinicians from RH. Participants in the classes included nurses, unit clerks, physicians and social workers.

On Monday and Wednesday morning the MMU served as a classroom for RH clinicians led by Dr. Joseph Copeland, emergency physician. “It is really important for all of us to have the clinical knowledge to respond to disasters in our own institutions and this course is a great way for us to do it," said Dr. Copeland.

On Monday and Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Michael Flesher, emergency physician at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital and the medical director of the MMU – with a background in disaster medicine – led course participants through two separate simulations of large-vehicle crashes.

The simulations enabled participants to practice the skills learnt in the morning ADM course, including disaster triage, command/resource management, and hands-on clinical care of simulated patients.

"This course will definitely impact our work. We have to know what to do in the event of a disaster and this course teaches us how to prepare," said Dr. Frances Mondor, emergency physician. Adds Tracy Moser, patient care coordinator, “We'll be taking all of the ADM course information back to RH so we can update our disaster plan and identify roles for each of us in the event of a disaster."

Benefits of ADM training with the MMU

Providing the ADM course from the MMU warehouse in Delta for this deployment meant the MMU team could give disaster training without disrupting the Emergency Room or regular operations at RGH. Equipped to deploy anywhere across the province, the MMU has the capacity to provide a realistic and functional clinical learning space as well as a diverse team of individuals that has expertise in disaster medicine and education.

Interesting fact

The MMU was originally planned to deploy at RGH, but a delay in road construction completion on Westminster Highway meant the location had to change just a few days prior to the deployment. The successful last-minute reworking of plans is a testament to the team's adaptability and readiness of the unit!

About the MMU

In addition to being a resource in the event of a natural disaster, emergency or temporary back up to a B.C. health care facility, education is a major component of the MMU program. As a shared resource among the regional health authorities, the MMU makes planned deployments to each health region in B.C. to provide opportunities for education and planning. For a comprehensive list of all MMU deployments, visit the deployments page on the MMU website.

If you would like to have the MMU visit your site, please email more information on the MMU program, visit or follow them on Twitter

SOURCE: Mobile Medical Unit helps Richmond Hospital clinicians practice and prepare for disasters ( )
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