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Posted By: Walter F. Mathers on: 06/18/2002 16:12:28 CDT
Subject: Recognizing Competence w/SCARD's Medical Emergency Code

Message Detail:
Ted,

I'm glad you touched on one of the mainstay combinations of the pre-concerted stutter code, e.g. "MM". But I have to take a bit of exception (just a wee bit here) and you're see why in time.

In your post you say:

"ALL YOU NEED is to send MM. That should be enough, and be sufficiently fast enough, to alert someone to send someone's butt over to you immediately to find out what's wrong. MM is the stutter code for Medical Emergency. It should be reserved and not used for anything but that...a medical emergency."

The MM combination was actually created by SCARD's Department of Texas Representative Stephen H. Siemsen way back during the mid-1980's in response to immediate needs created during the mega-125th. anniversary series.

I may have mentioned this elsewhere up on the forum but Stephen actually develop'd a rather complete and workable side code to alert all concerned as to the nature, and disposition of an emergency with suggested resolutions for the summons'd emergency response groups ~ EMT's, fire and rescue, etc.

Many signal impressionists have lamentably disregarded Stephen's MM Code as it may well have placed a burden on some flag-operators to actually be relied upon in real-time situations to handle last resort real-life crisis. Like Ted says, radios do break down. In what position will SCARD's signallists be, not if, but when such incidences occur?

The last time I personally knew Steve Siemsen's code to be carried onto a field of re-enacting was during the 1997 Confederate 135th. Sharpsburg CSO stint of Reed W. Settle. If it has gone forth since, I would appreciate knowing of it. We currently get few AAR's with accompanying code sheets sent in to the archives nowadays.

Fortunately during 135th. Sharpsburg, the MM Code was never pressed into service but we had it handy had there have been a need for it.

Basically Stephen's code works like this:

Once the MM flag motions begin "2112""2112""2112" it continues without even a slight pause between combinations until answer'd. When seen, the party chief will order an acknowledgement and say to the recorder, Prepare for a medical emgergency. The "MM" portion of the code sheet is brought into view (these were usually done up on 8 1/2 X 14 sheets to accomodate the MM, plain text, preconcerted and signature codes) and would be held in readiness for diciphering once the message is recorded into the message book.

The code is divided into five main compartments. They are:

Section 1. Location on the field
a. Injury is at my location
b. I will go to injury
c. Injury to my left
d. Injury to my right
e. Injury is to my front
f. Injury is to my rear
g.-h. Open and close plaintext

Sections 2. 3. 4. 5. cover portion of body part affected, i.e. Head, Body, Limbs and Condition

The section covering Limbs for instance has combinations for upper,leg, lower leg/foot, upper arm, upper arm/hand. The body section lists neck, back, chest and abdomen/groin.

The Condition box lists the following:
a. conscious/alert
b. unconscious/unresponsive
c. respiratory/distress
d. arterial/venous bleeding

Each of the words or word groupings is represented by a signal combination, these are not stutters.
Chest for instance is represented by "221". When suc messages are delivered to the head-quarters party, who then delivers it to one of the over-all commander's designated radio totter's, the "11.11.11.3." is sent to the intitating party along with word that help has been sent for. All parties involved (if you have seen the message from your vantage point and had copied it, you ARE involved) make note of the time in your message book and know that the pre-concerted code is then being resumed.

Mr. Siemsen and I had numerous occassions to press his brilliant Medical Emergency Code into service during our early associations on the field. We honed in a group of medics for a self inflicted bayonet wound while at Fort Picket, VA and at another event (The Mule Shoe if I recall rightly) directed Fire Department stretcher bearers straight to a broken ankle suffer'r. In both cases (and there were many others besides) there was no way in which radios could not have gotten the job done. We instructed the litter bearers to aim directly for the signal flag.

Merely transmitting "MM" often accomplishes little except to add to the confussion of the already command-strained commanders. You as the intermediary (and the folks you are going to notify) should be provided with more information about the situation (especially at a cast of thousands mega-event) than simply an injury currently exists. If we train now for the big events, we will hopefully be ready when they come to pass.

The most recent version of Steve Siemsen's medical code I have is SCARD-SHS No. 3. (correct me if I'm wrong Steve)

Numbering of codes is IMPORTANT. When many who have taken to using the codes SCA and later SCARD develop'd, they not only wiped out any reference to SCARD, but they also obliterated the names of the code creators and the version numbers. I've seen many variations of our original codes about the re-enactments albeit with no control numbers of any kind affix'd the the sheet. This in-attention to detail can cause the users thereof potential train wrecks during their otherwise 'perfect' events, as some of the walk-ons, or a haversack containing a slightly different version will be utilized in haste.

Maybe we should mention in passing that the other un-changable stutter combination is "EE". The combination "EE" allows you to create words or phrases or even change the meaning of a stutter or substitute a name within a preconcerted signature while the engagement is swirling about your heads. You'd be surprized just how handy this combination can be when called for. Sounds like more SCARD web guidlines time to me. Hope you didn't mind wading down Memory Lane with me. They were just a few of my thoughts out of the past.

Best Regards,
Walt
3.3.3.

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