Field tests in the Karkonosze Mountains are the last stage of recruitment that candidates for the PMM VASCO EMT rescue team go through. What kind of tasks did the candidates of the last tests face? It was kept a secret until the last moment, because, as in real actions, there is always an element of surprise.
- At the beginning, each team must focus primarily on training itself, on coordinating people in situations that may happen, but are unpredictable - says Piotr Szetelnicki, emergency medicine doctor and head of the PMM VASCO EMT staff. - We are looking for specific people, often with slightly feisty characters, who, above all, want to do something, help others, are able to do it and are mentally resilient.
Although team members can only be people with medical background - medical, rescue or nursing, during the training, situations are simulated that are not everyday life in the emergency room. There are also challenges related to cultural differences and operating in an international environment of medical groups. After the recent earthquake in Turkey, support in the form of equipment and emergency medical teams (EMT) was provided by around 70 countries. In such an abundance of people and information, it is easy to create chaos, which is why rescuers and doctors must demonstrate nerves of steel and flawless knowledge of medical procedures.
The assumption of PMM VASCO EMT is to join a group of similar teams existing around the world as part of the network and standards developed by the World Health Organization. It is the WHO that receives calls from countries in need of assistance, which are answered by trained teams with the necessary facilities to operate independently anywhere in the world. Since 2016, 37 teams have been formed around the world, half of them in European countries, one of them in Poland. PMM VASCO EMT will operate as a Type 1 team - Stationary and Mobile. As part of the guidelines it must meet in order to obtain the appropriate certification, it is necessary to have professional medical staff with its own equipment and logistics facilities, readiness to take action within 24-48 hours of the call and presence on site for at least 2-3 weeks.
- We are in touch with the most needy country in the region, Ukraine. Due to the humanitarian nature of the team, we do not enter the zone of warfare, while in the zone of relative safety we will organize both substantive training and personal support for medicine in that area - says Piotr Szetelnicki about the plans. - The next plans include Iraq and several other places where field tests will be conducted every few months. As new team members are investigated, they will be included in the training. In fact, as soon as we gather the necessary group of people, we are ready to leave.
In order to be able to achieve both this and future goals, the team conducts permanent recruitment for doctors, paramedics, nurses and psychologists ready to work in extreme conditions. Volunteers who pass the recruitment process are offered PMM-Vasco Emergency Team participation in mandatory and improvement training, both medical and non-medical. Joining the team is also an opportunity to develop professionally in the field of extreme medicine and travel medicine, and to share knowledge and experience about healthcare systems and the conditions for providing assistance in different parts of the world with international experts. All PMM Vasco EMT participants work based on WHO standards. Volunteers are provided with flights, accommodation, meals and meals, as well as travel insurance.