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Assessment of disaster preparedness among emergency departments in Italian hospitals: a cautious warning for disaster risk reduction and management capacity

Assessment of disaster preparedness among emergency departments in Italian hospitals: a cautious warning for disaster risk reduction and management capacity

Scandinavian Journal of Trauma Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine 24(1): 101

Since the 1990s, Italian hospitals are required to comply with emergency disaster plans known as Emergency Plan for Massive Influx of Casualties. While various studies reveal that hospitals overall suffer from an insufficient preparedness level, the aim of this study was to better determine the preparedness level of Emergency Departments of Italian hospitals by assessing the knowledge-base of emergency physicians regarding basic disaster planning and procedures. A prospective observational study utilized a convenience sample of Italian Emergency Departments identified from the Italian Ministry of Health website. Anonymous telephone interviews were conducted of medical consultants in charge at the time in the respective Emergency Departments, and were structured in 3 parts: (1) general data and demographics, (2) the current disaster plan and (3) protocols and actions of the disaster plan. Eighty-five Emergency Departments met inclusion criteria, and 69 (81 %) agreed to undergo the interview. Only 45 % of participants declared to know what an Emergency Plan for Massive Influx of Casualties is, 41 % believed to know who has the authority to activate the plan, 38 % knew who is in charge of intra-hospital operations. In Part 3 physicians revealed a worrisome inconsistency in critical content knowledge of their answers. Results demonstrate a poor knowledge-base of basic hospital disaster planning concepts by Italian Emergency Department physicians-on-duty. These findings should alert authorities to enhance staff disaster preparedness education, training and follow-up to ensure that these plans are known to all who have responsibility for disaster risk reduction and management capacity.

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Accession: 057242988

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PMID: 27526719

DOI: 10.1186/s13049-016-0292-6

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