Principles of Mass Casualty and Disaster Medicine
Hospital and emergency department emergency management is an essential aspect of modern healthcare. If one looks back more than 30 years, it would be almost impossible to find a hospital role called hospital emergency management or even a position for a healthcare emergency manager in a hospital or medical center. Yet, certain aspects of healthcare emergency management responsibilities have always been addressed by hospitals, such as fire safety, backup power, and the ability to handle victims from a mass casualty event. In addition, the public has strong expectations of the roles hospitals should play during times of disaster. Healthcare institutions are expected to provide both emergency care and continuance of the day to day healthcare responsibilities regardless of the volume and demand. The public believes that hospitals will have light, heat, air conditioning, water, food, and communications capabilities, regardless of the fact that the institution may itself be affected by the calamity.
The emergency management activity must be a directed by a multi-disciplinary group that is central to all activities and reports directly to hospital administrative and medical leadership. This planning effort must focus on all phases of disasters, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. These activities must be based on an all hazards approach to ensure preparedness for disasters, terrorism events and public health emergencies. Lastly these efforts must be inclusive of the entire populations and assure that the hospital is able to continue to function during any event to serve its critical resource in the community and serve the entire population. In addition to their traditional roles of child expert, advocate for children, community provider, family resource, and a force behind new research, pediatricians must now take on new roles regarding disaster, terrorism and public health emergency preparedness. Information, education and participation are important initial steps for all child health professionals.
KeywordsEmergency preparedness Emergency management Disaster Terrorism Public health emergency
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