Triage Is Key In Timely Response



I have just finished watching a segment on television re: Stranded firefighters who traveled from Illinois to help the victims of Katrina. They are playing football while waiting to be assigned a place to help.

It helped enlarge the lump in my throat since I had just spoken with my son's wife. He is part of a 33-man contingent from Seattle (firefighters, medics and divers) who convoyed for the same reason only to be stopped in Dallas and instructed to holeup in the Hyatt, keep away from the press and wait. And on the third day, they were sent to Gulfport, Miss. where they have been awaiting the "call" to rescue and help.

They have been treated royally there, and have had a crew of 80 cooking for and looking after them. Since I know the cost to the federal government is approximately $30,000 per diem for the Seattle crew, I can just imagine that the same salaries are due the Illinois crew.

There have been heroes and villains in the last two weeks, and we've heard about them. We'll have plenty of time for reprisal in the days that have preceded, and I'm sure there'll be more than enough critics to go around.

My point today is -- as a registered nurse with an almost 50-year career, I have participated annually in hospital's "disaster drills." The essential part of the routine is triage, i.e., getting everyone where they need to be.

We have witnessed the disaster of the century and what seems to have failed is triage. Never mind the money, think of the human cost. Color me oh so sad.

Let this be a lesson for us in Strawberry, Pine and Payson. We face annual forest fire threat. We all need to have a plan and be prepared.

Barbara Duffy, Pine

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