SPANISH ARMY nursing specialists have spent the last week in Alicante, training medical emergency experts in how to act when faced with a terror attack.
In the wake of the horrors of the Bataclan attack in Paris, or the recent London and Manchester terror incidents, European citizens are having to come to terms with the fact we are surrounded by a permanent terror threat.
These new scenarios also affect the work of doctors and nurses who attend the emergency situations, as they need to be prepared to face personal attack themselves.
With this in mind, Military Medical Personnel, visited the Cigarreras Conference Centre in Alicante, where 2,700 medical experts were gathered for the Congress of the Spanish Society of Emergency and Emergency Medicine (Semes) annual conference.
The aim of the training course was to advise and train health professionals on the policy involved, when dealing with a terrorist attack involving active firearms.
Faced with the chaos this type of attack delivers, there are golden rules to follow to ensure personal safety first, before trying to save the lives of others.
“The first thing they explained to us is to remain in the background without intervention until the area is safe and we are not in immediate danger,” said Blas Gimenez, president of the Scientific Committee of the congress speaking to the Spanish press.
“In fact, if the risk persists, it is the police or military who move the victims into safe areas for medical attention.”
“Following international guidelines, when an attack occurs, the area is divided into ‘Hot’ and ‘Cold’ zones dependent on the imminent risk level,” explained Luis Orbananos, coordinator of the Semes Military Nursing group.
The field hospital is usually installed in the ‘Cold’ zone and health workers must prioritise their attention to the victims according to the severity and the available resources.
“We always say that the first thing is to save life, limb or function, but it all depends on where you are, “explains Orbananos.
Most terror scenarios involve bleeding wounds, so the training included reminding the medical personnel how to use a tourniquet, a technique, which is not normally used in normal medical situations these days.
The question on most people’s lips at the conference was, are we prepared to face such an attack in Spain?
Orbananos thinks yes, “The terrorist acts when he can and where he can, but in Spain, unfortunately, we have experience in this type of intervention, as evidenced by the Atocha attack in Madrid”.
Blas Giménez, referring to hospital’s emergency preparation, said “All have specific plans to intervene in emergencies with multiple victims, when in an hour we must take care of 30% of all the normal emergencies of a day”.
Yesterday’s course is one of the 70 that have been programmed in these three days of congress and is not the only one dedicated to terrorist threats.
Other workshops included training on how to handle protection equipment against nuclear, radiological, biological and chemical.
However, on the brighter side, the conference is considered to be one of the most lucrative of the year for Alicante, with the hotels hanging the no vacancies signs all week and the 2700 delegates spending their money in the restaurants and bars of the city.