Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2012 Sep;73(3):592-7; discussion 597-8. doi: 10.1097/TA.0b013e318265cbb2.

Full-scale regional exercises: closing the gaps in disaster preparedness.

Author information

  • 1FH Sammy Ross, Jr, Trauma Center, Department of Surgery, Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, North Carolina 28203, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Man-made (9/11) and natural (Hurricane Katrina) disasters have enlightened the medical community regarding the importance of disaster preparedness. In response to Joint Commission requirements, medical centers should have established protocols in place to respond to such events. We examined a full-scale regional exercise (FSRE) to identify gaps in logistics and operations during a simulated mass casualty incident.

METHODS:

A multiagency, multijurisdictional, multidisciplinary exercise (FSRE) included 16 area hospitals and one American College of Surgeons-verified Level I trauma center (TC). The scenario simulated a train derailment and chemical spill 20 miles from the TC using 281 moulaged volunteers. Third-party contracted evaluators assessed each hospital in five areas: communications, command structure, decontamination, staffing, and patient tracking. Further analysis examined logistic and operational deficiencies.

RESULTS:

None of the 16 hospitals were compliant in all five areas. Mean hospital compliance was 1.9 (± 0.9 SD) areas. One hospital, unable to participate because of an air conditioner outage, was deemed 0% compliant. The most common deficiency was communications (15 of 16 hospitals [94%]; State Medical Asset Resource Tracking Tool system deficiencies, lack of working knowledge of Voice Interoperability Plan for Emergency Responders radio system) followed by deficient decontamination in 12 (75%). Other deficiencies included inadequate staffing based on predetermined protocols in 10 hospitals (63%), suboptimal command structure in 9 (56%), and patient tracking deficiencies in 5 (31%). An additional 11 operational and 5 logistic failures were identified. The TC showed an appropriate command structure but was deficient in four of five categories, with understaffing and a decontamination leak into the emergency department, which required diversion of 70 patients.

CONCLUSION:

Communication remains a significant gap in the mass casualty scenario 10 years after 9/11. Our findings demonstrate that tabletop exercises are inadequate to expose operational and logistic gaps in disaster response. FSREs should be routinely performed to adequately prepare for catastrophic events.

PMID:
22929489
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk