, Volume 34, Issue 5, pp 443-450
Date: 26 Sep 2008

Preparedness of German Paramedics and Emergency Physicians for a Mass Casualty Incident: A National Survey

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Paramedics and physicians are important components of our emergency medical system. To date, no survey has been carried out assessing physicians and paramedics regarding their preparedness for a mass casualty incident (MCI) resulting from a terrorist attack in Germany. The aim of this study was to assess the current state of preparedness of emergency physicians and paramedics for an MCI.

Materials and Methods:

Using an online questionnaire, we interviewed 1,707 emergency physicians and paramedics in Germany. The replies were analyzed statistically with the one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) test and the Tukey-Kramer multiple comparisons test.


In all, 95% of the emergency physicians and paramedics knew their area of responsibility in the case of an MCI. However, 45% of them were unaware of injury patterns and treatment strategies in patients following nuclear, chemical or biological contamination. Of the interviewed emergency physicians and paramedics, 97% asked for further specific training for MCI/terrorism attacks.


Emergency physicians and paramedics are still insufficiently prepared for nuclear, chemical, and biological as well as conventional terrorism attacks. The emergency training of emergency physicians and paramedics must be modified to accommodate the increased risk of catastrophes and terrorist attacks.