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Changes to the Korean Disaster Medical Assistance System After Numerous Multi-casualty Incidents in 2014 and 2015

  • Myeong-il Cha (a1), Minhong Choa (a2), Seunghwan Kim (a2), Jinseong Cho (a3), Dai Hai Choi (a4), Minsu Cho (a5), Won Kim (a6), Chu Hyun Kim (a7), Daehyun Kang (a8), Yun Jung Heo (a9), Jung Eon Kim (a10), Han Deok Yoon (a10) and Soon Joo Wang (a11)...



A number of multiple-casualty incidents during 2014 and 2015 brought changes to Korea’s disaster medical assistance system. We report these changes here.


Reports about these incidents, revisions to laws, and the government’s revised medical disaster response guidelines were reviewed.


The number of DMAT (Disaster Medical Assistance Team) staff members was reduced to 4 from 8, and the mobilization method changed. An emergency response manual was created that contains the main content of the DMAT, and there is now a DMAT training program to educate staff. The government created and launched a national 24-hour Disaster Emergency Medical Service Situation Room, and instead of the traditional wireless communications, mobile instant smart phone messaging has been added as a new means of communication. The number of disaster base hospitals has also been doubled.


Although there are still limitations that need to be remedied, the changes to the current emergency medical assistance system are expected to improve the system’s response capacity. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2017;11:526–530)


Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to Soon Joo Wang, Hallym University Dongtan Sacred Heart Hospital, Department of Emergency Medicine (e-mail:


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