Study: All-hazards approach helps emergency preparedness

A recent study conducted by researchers in Tel Aviv, Israel, found a strong correlation between preparedness procedures for different types of emergencies after evaluating emergency procedures in different local hospitals.

The researchers set out to investigate whether or not there was a relationship between the preparedness of hospitals for multiple emergency scenarios. If components of some emergency scenarios overlapped, the researchers hypothesized that standard operating procedures could be adopted to handle mass casualty events, mass toxicological/chemical events and biological events.

The research team from the Israeli Ministry of Health's Emergency and Disaster and Management Division evaluated emergency preparedness levels of acute-care hospitals for MTEs, MCEs and biological events. Professional experts evaluated the preparedness levels by examining standard operating procedures and visiting the hospitals. The experts then analyzed how prepared the hospitals were for different types of disasters.

The team found that significant relationships were in place for different emergencies and that standard operating procedures for biological events correlated with preparedness for other emergency scenarios the researchers investigated. Drills and training systems for all the emergency scenarios included significant overlapping.

The researchers concluded that standard operating procedures, drills and training programs are more important in dealing with unfamiliar emergency scenarios than equipment or knowledge of personnel. The team concluded that an all-hazards approach to emergency preparedness should be adopted to handle biological events, MTEs and MCEs.