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BC - MOBILE MEDICAL UNIT by Dr. Jack Taunton, CMO, TIPS Canada

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BC - MOBILE MEDICAL UNIT by Dr. Jack Taunton, CMO, TIPS Canada

BC – MOBILE MEDICAL UNIT by Dr. Jack Taunton CMO, TIPS Canada

Dr. Jack Taunton, Chief Medical Officer, Terranova International Public Safety Canada Incorporated (TIPS Canada) runs our Vancouver office at the University of British Columbia, Faculty of Medicine.  Grandfather to Sports Medicine globally, Dr. Taunton is a Shareholder of TIPS Canada and is currently the Chairman of the Board for GEMS-ERT: Global Emergency Medical Services – Emergency Response Team and is also the Chief Medical Officer for all global operations.

Dr. Taunton is known for his outstanding work and medical history in BC Health as around the world and in the past has been the Medical Officer for eight World Olympic Games, CMO for the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympics.  Medical Officer for six PAN-AM Games and CMO for Canada for Caracas and Havana and Medical Officer for 4 World Student Games and CMO for Canada in Bucharest and Zagreb and Medical Officer for 4 Commonwealth Games and a host of World Championships.

Dr. Jack Taunton was the Co-Developer of the BC Mobile Medical Unit that developed the two units which were the first of its kind in existence.  These two 53-foot tractor trailers were state-of-the-art and one-of-a-kind.

One MMU Tractor Trailer has two OR’s and has an Imaging with ultrasound, it also had pop-outs with capacity of 4 trauma beds 4 ICU’s and 4 ER beds and support with blood bank and instrument sterilization, and has its own oxygen supply.  The other tractor trailer has sleeping quarters, and has a full medical support for the medical staff, lab and 72-hours of patient support.  When on the road, the trucks can store additional imaging equipment and other larger medical equipment. 


In addition, Dr. Taunton and his medical team and MMU’s had to care for 25,000 volunteers, 10,000 media personnel and 5,000 VANOC - our staff and the Police, Fire, Paramedics with 44 ambulances, the Military that required more advanced care in the 2 Polyclinics and MMU in Whistler, BC. 


Both trailers have been given full accreditation by the Vancouver General Hospital. Each trailer can quickly expand from 53’ trailers to 990 sq. ft. medical stations, providing emergency trauma and medical support to all those in need.  Perfect medical units for Post Games operated by PHSA and for national and international disasters.


The BC Mobile Medical Unit is maintained in a state of readiness.


Planned & unplanned deployments


The unit is available to be called upon in the event of a natural disaster or other unplanned emergency that requires space, medical equipment, or health-care providers, or as a replacement of a damaged health-care facility.  


Throughout the year, the MMU also travels on a planned basis to urban, rural, and remote areas of the province delivering a broad range of services.  


Bundling deployments


Where possible, the unit and team ‘bundle’ multiple roles in a single deployment, maximizing the value the unit and team provide to the health authority they’re visiting.


Bundling is an important practice for the MMU team, instilling the flexibility and confidence to quickly transition between varying levels of clinical care while allowing the host health authority and site to get the maximum value for the deployment.  

For example, in October 2015 the MMU traveled to Vancouver Island for eight days, where it was used to: 

  • host an outreach clinic for the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations communities to treat patients with allergies and respiratory concerns; and 
  • provide disaster education training to more than 60 participants including health-care staff from Victoria General Hospital, local first responders, the Department of National Defence and medical residents, nurses and students.  

Areas of work


The MMU works in five main areas.


Renovation support  

The MMU can serve as a valuable temporary care facility for hospitals and health centres undergoing renovations. 


Public health outreach

The MMU offers a comfortable and modern space that outreach clinicians can adapt to make their own in order to provide the best

possible care for their patients. 


Emergencies & disaster relief

A self-sufficient resource, the MMU is on-call 24/7 as a provincial health emergency resource 


Event support

The MMU is available for integration with medical service plans at events throughout the province that attract large groups of people. These may include sporting events and festivals.  



The MMU provides a broad range of customized medical education each and every time it leaves the warehouse. 



The MMU publishes its recent publications and presentations. 

Types of Care


The BC Mobile Medical Unit uses a customized and collaborative approach to planning, working with health authority leaders and event managers to meet the needs of every mission for which it is activated.


Outreach Clinics & First Aid

Outreach clinics 

The MMU can be adapted to meet the diverse needs of various outpatient clinical needs or outreach programs. The facility is particularly useful for multi-disciplinary teams that may include doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, and other experts who work together to provide care in one location.


Advantages of using the MMU for outpatient care include:

  • the ability to offer closer to home, specialized care for patients living in rural and remote areas of BC
  • spacious, high-tech, and comfortable environment for patient visits
  • access to a broad range of MMU clinical equipment
  • flexibility to adapt the MMU space to meet specific clinical and patient-flow needs. 

First aid 


First-aid level of care can be offered in conjunction with higher levels of care. This is most often the case at events and festivals where the MMU is integrated into medical services plans. First aid level care is often combined with the offering of higher levels of care.


The MMU can be used to provide care to people with a minor illness or injury, particularly at sporting events and festivals that attract large numbers of people.


The "minor illness and injury" level of care may also be provided if the MMU is serving to replace a portion of a health-care facility that is damaged or undergoing renovation (such as an emergency room).


The MMU:

  • provides a clean, safe and temperature-controlled environment in which to assess and monitor patients with minor injuries (see the Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS) Levels 4 and 5. According to the CTAS scale, Levels 4 and 5 are "less urgent" and "non-urgent", respectively.)
  • may reduce number of visits to the hospital by people who have a minor illness or injury, which might help to alleviate pressures that result from an increased number of patients, especially for events held in small communities
  • can be offered in combination with a higher level of care (such as Level 2 or Level 3), which may be required at higher-risk sporting events.

Minor Illness & Injury


Critical Care & Emergency Resuscitation


The MMU is a robust and flexible clinical resource with a broad range of equipment.


The MMU's range of equipment allows it to provide a high level of patient care. 


Critical care follows the five "Triage & Acuity Scale Definitions set out in the Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS) Implementation Guidelines.


Being able to offer critical care and emergency resuscitation is important:

  • when assisting during hospital renovations
  • at high-risk sporting events
  • in the event of a disaster. 

Emergency Life-Saving Surgery


The MMU is fully equipped with a private, multi-purpose room that can be configured to a one-table operating room


A variety of surgical and, if needed, life-saving procedures can be performed in the operating room.


Surgical care within the MMU is provided primarily in the event of an emergency (unplanned) scenario, such as disaster, or other instance where capacity has been reduced or lost. Procedures performed would be those that are life-saving and stabilizing prior to transport to a higher level of care.


When configured for surgery, the multi-purpose room offers:

  • HEPA filtration (15 air exchanges per hour)
  • Alphastar Pro operating table
  • anesthesia machine
  • blanket and fluid warmer
  • PACS station
  • private emergency entrance or exit.

For first aid to critical care, the multi-purpose operating room can be configured as:

  • a private exam space
  • triage
  • administrative area or office
  • medical supply storage or staff respite area
  • ·other, as required by specific user needs.

A complete list of the medical equipment is available upon request. 



The BC Mobile Medical Unit is a publicly funded resource unique to western Canada, offering health emergency response, business continuity, clinical education and mobile health consultation services throughout the province.


BC’s Mobile Medical Unit (MMU) is a state-of-the-art mobile medical facility. A legacy of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, the unit is now owned by the Provincial Health Services Authority in partnership with the regional health authorities.


A unique resource


The MMU offers clinical support ranging from primary and outpatient care, to critical and emergency life-saving surgical care.  


The only resource of its kind in Canada, the team and unit travel to each BC health authority annually to provide emergency response for event-related medical surge, ensure business continuity during planned and unplanned events like disasters, facilitate clinical education, and/or offer mobile health consultation services. 


When not in active deployment, the MMU is protected in an indoor, climate-controlled warehouse facility to preserve its longevity and protect the medical equipment and consumable supplies.  


A team of biomedical engineers have set up a comprehensive preventative maintenance program for all medical equipment.  


When on deployment, the MMU easily connects to a site’s electrical grid to run its clinical systems and equipment. In an emergency situation, the MMU can activate its two 100 kw diesel generators and be self-sufficient.


MMU Stakeholders


The MMU’s strategic goals are developed in consultation with, and guided by, our Provincial Mobile Medical Unit Advisory Committee.


The committee includes membership from across each of the six health authorities and the Ministry of Health Emergency Management Unit.  

This representation includes: 

  • Physician leaders
  • Operational leaders
  • Leaders in Health Emergency Management

The MMU also works very close with our Health Emergency Management BC (HEMBC) partners to determine needs and opportunities within the health authorities.  


Continued success of the Mobile Medical Unit would not be possible without the support of our health authority partners including:  

This Article is Endorsed by TIPS Canada, your best choice for first aid training, caregiver, basic, advanced, wilderness, survival, marine and pre-hospital first aid programs, and in (ITLS) International Trauma Life Support and in Disaster Volunteer Operations in Canada.
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