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Prehosp Disaster Med. 2008 Jan-Feb;23(1):63-7; discussion 68-9.

Development of an "all-hazards" hospital disaster preparedness training course utilizing multi-modality teaching.

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ER One Institute, Division of Emergency Medicine, Washington Hospital Center, Washington, DC 20010-2975 USA.



The objectives of the study were to develop and evaluate an "all-hazards" hospital disaster preparedness training course that utilizes a combination of classroom lectures, skills sessions, tabletop sessions, and disaster exercises to teach the principles of hospital disaster preparedness to hospital-based employees.


Participants attended a two-day, 16-hour course, entitled Hospital Disaster Life Support (HDLS). The course was designed to address seven core competencies of disaster training for healthcare workers. Specific disaster situations addressed during HDLS included: (1) biological; (2) conventional; (3) radiological; and (4) chemical mass-casualty incidents. The primary goal of HDLS was not only to teach patient care for a disaster, but more importantly, to teach hospital personnel how to manage the disaster itself. Knowledge gained from the HDLS course was assessed by pre- and post-test evaluations. Additionally, participants completed a course evaluation survey at the conclusion of HDLS to assess their attitudes about the course.


Participants included 11 physicians, 40 nurses, 23 administrators/directors, and 10 other personnel (n = 84). The average score on the pre-test was 69.1 +/- 12.8 for all positions, and the post-test score was 89.5 +/- 6.7, an improvement of 20.4 points (p < 0.0001, 17.2-23.5). Participants felt HDLS was educational (4.2/5), relevant (4.3/5) and organized (4.3/5).


Identifying an effective means of teaching hospital disaster preparedness to hospital-based employees is an important task. However, the optimal strategy for implementing such education still is under debate. The HDLS course was designed to utilize multiple teaching modalities to train hospital-based employees on the principles of disaster preparedness. Participants of HDLS showed an increase in knowledge gained and reported high satisfaction from their experiences at HDLS. These results suggest that HDLS is an effective way to train hospital-based employees in the area of disaster preparedness.

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