Emergency Support Unit Unveiled

Today in Carson City, the state officially unveiled its Emergency Support Unit.

Fergus Laughridge is in charge of the unit. "The unit is designed to support any community we could be called out to, with the facility to treat and triage 500 casualties from man-made to natural disasters."

The Unit is all self-contained in this trailer and there's enough medical equipment to help hundreds of patients.

For example, a decontamination tent could be called in on a mercury spill like the one that happened at a middle school in Gardnerville a couple of years ago, but the equipment allows the unit to do much more. Tents can be used to house pre-hospital patients, and the color-coded system is all part of the highly organized way patients would be triaged and treated.

Red would be the most serious patients, yellow less so, and green the least critical. The numbers on the tarp help organizers keep track of patients.

Laughridge says patient Joe Smith is number five on red. To the untrained eye, that might not make much sense, but it does to the team.

"Right away if I know Joe Smith on number five is the worst, then when the next ambulance arrives he'll be one of the first to go."

That organized system would greet patients the minute they enter the unit, while ID badges would have critical information on them and identify the patient from the beginning, in terms of his or her medical condition.

Special red, yellow, and green glow sticks are also contained in the waterproof badge to locate a patient even at night.

Fergus Laughridge say he, his staff, and the unit are designed to bring organization to chaos.

Currently the state has two of these support units. Their goal is to have five. Tthe cost is about $90,000 dollars each and the first of these two was made available through the homeland security commission.