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In light of the recent terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, DC, the critical question arises: Are you adequately trained for a disaster? It’s not a simple question to answer, but now you have a measuring stick to assess how well you are prepared.
A new report from the Dallas-based American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Emergency Preparedness gives you a "benchmark" to prepare for nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) incidents with specific training objectives.
The report recommended that training start in nursing school and provide an overview of nursing roles in a disaster, says Bettina Stopford, RN, chair of the national Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) work group for the Des Plaines, IL-based Emergency Nurses Association and chief nurse for the Denver-based U.S. Public Health Service’s Central U.S. National Medical Response Team for WMD.
The report gives you specific guidelines for what your disaster training should include, she says.
Stopford recommends the following to comply with the recommendations of the report:
— safety/ED lockdown;
— staff recall lists;
— rapid triage such as Simple Triage and Rapid Treatment, developed by the Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, CA, and the Newport Beach Fire Department for a multiple casualty incident;
— triage to other areas of the hospital;
— role identification;
— personal protective equipment;
— the incident management system such as Hospital Emergency Incident Command System, an emergency management system made up of positions on an organizational chart, developed by the San Mateo (CA) County Health Services Agency;
— communication, including broadcast, fax, and radios;
— active surveillance systems;
— contact with resources;
— integration with the community for resources.
[For more on the report, contact:
Source: American College of Emergency Physicians, Dallas, and Office of Emergency Preparedness. Developing Objectives, Content, and Competencies for the Training of EMTs, Emergency Physicians, and Emergency Nurses to Care for Casualties Resulting from NBC Incidents. Washington, DC.