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SFO plane crash: Local emergency preparedness

The role first responders play is vital. They restore order to the chaos that erupts when a large scale tragedy strikes.

A tragic accident can happen anywhere anytime. After the Asiana Airlines flight crashed in San Francisco killing two and injuring more than 160 people, many wonder if we're equipped in the Central Valley.

"The question is whether or not we're ever prepared for something this large in size and I believe we are," said EMS Director, Dan Lynch with the Fresno County Department of Public Health.

Local first responders put their system to the test when they were called to an Amtrak train derailment near Hanford back in October.  Around 60 passengers were taken to local hospitals.

"As a paramedic, we're trained for disasters.  We know that any day as we respond to a call we may respond to a call that there's multiple victims," said Edgar Escobedo with American Ambulance.

It's a matter of getting command and control over an incident that may be chaotic. They work quickly to identify  which patients are critical with a triage tag used statewide.  If five or more people are injured, it's classified as a mass casualty incident, also known as an MCI.

"We do that with that low of a number so we can maintain the practice of dealing with events that occur with multiple patients," said Escobedo.

Emergency responders including law enforcement and firefighters train regularly together so they're on the same page when it comes to saving lives.

"We almost use this method daily to just so people are familiar with it so when the big one hits, that they're ready to go in a moments notice," said Lynch.

If a tragedy does happen resources can be pulled from surrounding counties.
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