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Emerg Radiol. 2011 Apr;18(2):119-26. doi: 10.1007/s10140-010-0922-7. Epub 2010 Dec 1.

Analysis of responses of radiology personnel to a simulated mass casualty incident after the implementation of an automated alarm system in hospital emergency planning.

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Department of Clinical Radiology, Munich University Hospital, Munich, Germany.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the response to an automated alarm system of a radiology department during a mass casualty incident simulation. An automated alarm system provided by an external telecommunications provider handling up to 480 ISDN lines was used at a level I trauma center. During the exercise, accessibility, availability, and estimated time of arrival (ETA) of the called in staff were recorded. Descriptive methods were used for the statistical analysis. Of the 49 employees, 29 (59%) were accessible, of which 23 (79%) persons declared to be available to come to the department. The ETA was at an average 29 min (SD ±23). Radiologists and residents reported an ETA to their workplace almost two times shorter compared with technicians (19 ± 16 and 22 ± 16 vs. 40 ± 27 min, p > 0.05). Additional staff reserve is crucial for handling mass casualty incidents. An automated alarm procedure might be helpful. However, the real availability of the employees could not be exactly determined because of unpredictable parameters. But our results allow estimation of the manpower reserve and calculation of maximum radiology service capacities.

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