Disasters; Emergency Medical Services; Emergency Medical Service Communication Systems; Transportation of Patients; Triage
Hanyang Medical Reviews, v. 35, NO 3, Page. 136-140
Disasters, or mass casualty incidents, occurring in modern history differ from those occurring in even the recent past. In previous times, disasters were mostly the result of natural causes such as earthquakes or floods. Currently, multiple casualty incidents are often the result of human actions such as vehicular accidents involving many vehicles with multiple operators, passengers and collateral victims, terror attacks and acts of war, radiation accidents, toxic chemical releases, and pandemic infectious agent exposures. Especially, events involving accidental and intentional exposures of chemical, biological, radiological/nuclear materials, often abbreviated as CBR or CBRN events present unique challenges to the healthcare system in caring for the victims. In these mass casualty incidents, a fully comprehensive, coordinated team response involving many different components of the community healthcare system need to be mobilized to effectively meet the modern challenge of CBRN events. Necessary components of a modern emergency response include training for prompt triage, decontamination, detoxification, emergency medical treatment, as well as providing appropriate transport to the proper medical treatment facility. Meeting these challenges requires maintaining ongoing communications between agencies charged with meeting the disaster to allow acquisition of information and location for the patients, transfer the information to both the Central Medical Emergency Response Center and the designated hospital. While sharing this information was problematic in the past, modern wireless communications and information technologies provide convenient means for the rapid sharing of important patient data and current situational details. Finally, improving modern disaster response requires the development of a disaster response plan, ongoing training in implementing the plan including disaster scenario simulation, and budgeting to acquire the necessary equipment involved for the emergency response personnel to meet the presenting crisis.