The Role of Emergency Medical Services in Mass Casualties
Since the early 70s, special attention has been given by the French authorities to disaster management. Integration of prehospital critical care as a part of the rescue organization was then decided. Several mass casualties situations have been observed in France and in Paris. Disaster plans for prehospital care and hospital organization have been implemented, utilized, and modified according to the acquired lessons. Practice of disaster medicine was considered as mandatory for the physicians working in the French Emergency Medical Services, called SAMU, and was included in the basic training. The SAMU organization has been described in details elsewhere [1,2]. In essence, SAMU is a nation-wide, regionalized public organization in charge of prehospital care. The SAMU includes a regional dispatching center and several Mobile Intensive Care Units based in major hospitals of the area. Physicians, specialized in anesthesiology or in emergency medicine, are directly involved in the patients’ treatment on scene and patients’ dispatching. In disaster situation, the SAMU plays an important role  and is closely associated with the Fire Brigade and the Police.
KeywordsEmergency Medical Service Disaster Management Medical Team Advance Life Support Mass Casualty
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