Risk Prevention or Incident Response?

23rd May 2022

Risk Prevention or Incident Response?

As Australian businesses appear to be on a trend path of moving from a singular focus on risk mitigation to incident response, have you tested your people, systems and processes?

Discussions with some major organisations and companies involved in this trend indicate that there is genuine concern at Board level about the ability of the organisation to effectively respond in the event or an onsite incident.

So, boards and senior executives have directed that their organisations actually test their incident response both to provide confidence but also to assist in a reasonable steps defence should it be needed.

Over the last few months, we have been involved in numerous large-scale testing of onsite incident responses exercises by clients. We have distilled a list of the types of testing conducted and for you to consider applying in your own circumstances.

Real Time Multi Agency Responses

These are the big exercises and whilst they cannot be conducted by everyone, they can be scaled down as appropriate and still be effective.

These are used to test incident response to accidents at Airports, Railways and major Industrial sites. The scenario’s involved Police, Fire, Ambulance plus on-site safety teams. In some cases, even mock media teams are engaged as well as mock family members calling the company distressed and wanting to know what’s going on, all of which add a further dimension of realism and tension.

Just recently, we have been involved in various activities supporting training exercises for Rail, Airports, and an Oil & Gas Plant – all for a number of large pro-active organisations that are serious about safety and saving lives.

TraumaSim have also been supporting the annual RAC bStreetSmart campaign. The event is run with the help of WA Police, Department of Fire and Emergency Services, Royal Perth Hospital, St John Ambulance and the Theatrical Response Group. The event is for year 10 to 12 students and features a crash scene re-enactment attended by the emergency services, just as it would occur at a real crash site. The students also have the opportunity to listen to speakers who have been directly impacted by road trauma and talk with emergency services personnel.

Image: 2021 RAC bstreetsmart event at Perth Convention Centre, involving all Emergency Services

Rescue Team Competitions

Many mining operations have emergency response teams to respond to incidents that pose a threat to lives and assets. Due the remoteness of some operators, these highly skilled emergency response teams may also be asked to assist in nearby emergency situations at other mine sites or within their local community.

For the competition, hyper-realistic scenarios are setup to test participants skills and competence in firefighting, hazchem response, first aid, team skills, vehicle extrication, rope rescue, incident management, confined space rescue and a theory exam. 

Utilising a variety of simulation solutions including role players, medically accurate wounds and injuries (moulage), fire, smoke, sounds and smells, an unforgettable learning experience is created that immerses trainees into a real-world situation and tests their response under the high-stress environment of a true incident or emergency.

Image: 2021 Underground Mine Rescue Competition hosted by Evolution Mining, Kalgoorlie WA, Courtesy of Kalgoorlie Miner Newspaper.

These types of competitions are also an invaluable opportunity to not only demonstrate competency, but identify potential gaps in training, knowledge, business procedures and system processes. The hands-on experience is supported with feedback from a team of adjudicators, who assess the every move of competitors. They provide the teams with real-time feedback plus a written report after the competition, allowing participants to see what they do well and how they can improve.

Injury and Trauma Simulation

Regardless of the size of the exercise, we work with clients to create a realistic emergency trauma simulation that is relevant to the workplace hazards and risks. From a small First Aid Class to a large scale mass casualty exercise, we work with your Safety and/or First Aid Officers to determine the type of injuries that would be expected and how to create the realistic scenario including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Define the type of wounds and injuries;
  • Provide a casualty list with briefing on wounds, injuries and symptoms;
  • Provision of Role Players for casualties; or
  • Mentoring of Role Players for direction on realistic symptoms for acting;
  • Design of custom-made wounds (if required);
  • Application of medical accurate moulage to create casualties;
  • Equipment and prosthetics to create the scenario (crying baby, odours etc)
  • and much more!

In these activities, it is critical that the injuries are medically accurate and treatable. First Aid Trainers and leading organisations as above are seeking realistic and treatable wounds and injuries to ensure their people are exposed to real-world situations and learn how to respond effectively.

Our moulage is built on the backbone of healthcare, nursing and first aid training to reflect clinical accuracy and medical realism over Film & Theatrics.

Lessons Learnt

This style of training has been linked to research on the reduction of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) amongst medics and first responders as the exposure builds resilience and enables the repetitive practice of critical skills to create muscle memory, competence and confidence.

As mentioned above, these exercises – whether big or small – identify gaps in training, knowledge, business procedures and system processes. It allows both businesses and personnel to test their response and recognise areas of continuous improvement.

Too many times we’ve heard stories of Medics and First Responders fainting on scene at the site of blood, and even fake blood! So don’t let this happen to you, your team or your organisation.

How You Can Do it Yourself

  • Moulage courses

The highly experienced TraumaSim team have been delivering moulage services and workshops to a variety of military, medical and emergency response personnel around the world since 2008.

Having trained internationally in Advanced Moulage and Disaster Exercise Design in the United States, we are confident our skills and abilities are leading the industry globally, resulting in only the most advanced knowledge, techniques, materials and tools being applied in our services and training workshops.

Our moulage services can be engaged to apply medically accurate wounds and injuries to your own manikins or role players, creating a realistic scenario to support your training outcomes.

Alternatively, we offer engaging and informative hands-on workshops where we teach you, or your team, to turn a manikin or live role player into a realistic casualty.

The above services and workshops are offered globally with the additional convenience of bringing everything to you! Whether it’s a basic or advanced course, we will work with you to facilitate training onsite at your premises, promising a smooth and efficient training session that meets your required outcomes.

As an authorised Ben Nye distributor, we use only the best moulage tools and materials, and are proud to have developed our very own TraumaSim Casualty FX Moulage Palette – boasting 8 of our favourite colours for the best moulage application!

Check out our range of Kits and consumables here: Moulage

  • TraumaWear

Liven up your training and really prepare your students for the real world with our TraumaWear range! These medically accurate wearable, robust wounds and injuries provide cost effective, rapid and repeatable application to add realism to your training and simulations.

The forearm range is simply pulled on and set in place. Talc powder can be applied to human skin first to aid with application. The leg and upper leg range are held in place with a strap & clip system. Simply pull on or tighten the straps around arm or leg and add Stage Blood or Fresh Scab as desired.

The items with bleeding capacity will include a plastic syringe connected via tubing which should all be rinsed thoroughly after each use. Bespoke items can be created to meet your specific requirements.

For more information on this range, please click here: TraumaWear