CORNER BROOK — Disaster preparedness has become a key component of the continued education of emergency nurses in Newfoundland and Labrador.It is the focus of an upcoming provincial conference in Corner Brook hosted by the Newfoundland and Labrador Emergency Nurses Affiliation.
Disaster Preparedness: Are We Ready, will be held from Oct. 19-21 for emergency department nurses, physicians, paramedics, and other allied health-care professionals.
It is aimed at disaster preparedness in the emergency department and disaster relief around the world. It is the first time in eight years a provincial conference through the National Emergency Nurses Affiliation will be held in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Todd Warren, the provincial affiliation’s director and chair of the conference, said most people in this province feel safe in their workplaces and environment, almost care- free of thoughts of disasters.
However, the province has experienced its share of weather-related incidents — hurricanes and floods — and the threat of forest fire was particular haunting during the recent hot and dry summer.
“We are in Canada’s wilderness,” he said. “Everybody is out there having fun. Yes, we get the natural disasters through weather, which we can’t predict, and we always live through it without thinking much about them.”
The emergency nurse said a disaster is more than the natural variety, and — by definition (more than three people impacted) — happens more locally than people realize. In a place like Corner Brook, he said the emergency rooms sometimes see visits from multiple patients following fires and occupational mishaps.
“One of the big things on the west coast is we have copious amounts of people coming here in the winter and doing their extreme snowmobiling,” Warren said following his address to members of the Rotary Club of Corner Brook Thursday.
“We hear it on the news all the time — Revelstoke and Golden, B.C. — about avalanches and disasters. We are seeing them here every year, but you don’t hear about them and they are not publicized. We get those rolls and have two or three people buried in snow.”
In terms of disaster preparedness locally, the nurse said there is a long way to go to be ready.The conference will include a keynote address from Rahul Singh, the founder and executive director of GlobalMedic; a National Emergency Stockpile of Supplies “mini clinic” demonstration and other presentations and sessions such as critical incident stress debriefing and START and JumpSTART triage.
Warren is hoping to see about 100 health-care professionals participate in the conference. However, he said time off work appears to be a hindrance for some.
He takes a lot of pride in his profession, and believes this conference will do a lot towards improving on the knowledge and health care provided in emergency rooms across the province.For more information, visit www.nena.ca or email firstname.lastname@example.org.