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From terrorist incidents to active shooter events to mass transit crashes, Fire Departments and EMS personnel must prepare to handle high volumes of the sick and injured. To better handle these emergencies, fire departments across the country are fielding mass casualty incident vehicles with vast stores of life-saving emergency medicine equipment. 

The West Palm Beach Fire Department and FDs around the country are outfitting trucks and kits for mass casualty incidents

Across the country, fire departments and emergency medical services (EMS) are fielding specially outfitted trucks for mass casualty incidents (MCIs). Instead of many different tools for dynamic tasks like a fire engine or quint, these MCI vehicles have compartments with enough EMS kit to handle casualty care in the triple digits.

In Southern Florida, the West Palm Beach Fire Department fielded a vehicle for mass casualty incidents, a “Mass Casualty Unit,”  according to CBS 12 News. What’s more, the MCU-1 has roll-top panels throughout, each with lifesaving tools and equipment. Additionally, one panel contains dozens of trauma bags, complete with tourniquets and dressings. 

The West Palm Beach Fire Department mass casualty incident unit shows off its kit to handle active shooter events and large disasters.
West Palm Beach FD MCU-1 | CBS 12 News

In the case of the Seattle Fire Department, personnel have MCI-1, or Mass Casualty Incident Vehicle No. 1, at their disposal. Should an MCI happen, the crew of MCI-1 can be on scene and ready to treat over 100 patients in minutes, according to the Journal of Emergency Medical Services. Like some fire engines, MCI-1 has roll-top side panels concealing compartments with vital life-saving equipment. 

Training for mass casualty incidents has many similarities to battlefield medicine. As a result, much of the equipment in MCI-specific vehicles or kits includes many tourniquets, mega movers, stretchers, pressure dressings, and decompression needles. However, some departments train for MCIs specific to an active shooter situation. Consequently, the special equipment can include body armor and Modular Integrated Communications Helmets (MICH). 

Check out the video below to see the department I served with, Anchorage Middletown Fire and EMS (AMFEMS), prepare to handle mass casualty incidents with special equipment.