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J Emerg Med. 2017 Sep;53(3):414-417. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2016.12.018.

The Rapid Disaster Evaluation System (RaDES): A Plan to Improve Global Disaster Response by Privatizing the Assessment Component.

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Professor Emeritus, Department of Emergency Medicine, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.



Emergency medicine personnel frequently respond to major disasters. They expect to have an effective and efficient management system to elegantly allocate available resources. Despite claims to the contrary, experience demonstrates this rarely occurs.


This article describes privatizing disaster assessment using a single-purposed, accountable, and well-trained organization. The goal is to achieve elegant disaster assessment, rather than repeatedly exhorting existing groups to do it.


The Rapid Disaster Evaluation System (RaDES) would quickly and efficiently assess a postdisaster population's needs. It would use an accountable nongovernmental agency's teams with maximal training, mobility, and flexibility. Designed to augment the Inter-Agency Standing Committee's 2015 Emergency Response Preparedness Plan, RaDES would provide the initial information needed to avoid haphazard and overlapping disaster responses. Rapidly deployed teams would gather information from multiple sources and continually communicate those findings to their base, which would then disseminate them to disaster coordinators in a concise, coherent, and transparent way.


The RaDES concept represents an elegant, minimally bureaucratic, and effective rapid response to major disasters. However, its implementation faces logistical, funding, and political obstacles. Developing and maintaining RaDES would require significant funding and political commitment to coordinate the numerous agencies that claim to be performing the same tasks. Although simulations can demonstrate efficacy and deficiencies, only field tests will demonstrate RaDES' power to improve interagency coordination and decrease the cost of major disaster response. At the least, the RaDES concept should serve as a model for discussing how to practicably improve our current chaotic disaster responses.


disaster management; disasters; privatization; rapid disaster assessment

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