To compare the state of chemical hazard preparedness in emergency departments (EDs) in Michigan, USA between 2005 and 2012.
This was a longitudinal study involving a 30 question survey sent to ED directors at each hospital listed in the Michigan College of Emergency Physician (MCEP) Directory in 2005 and in 2012. The surveys contained questions relating to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive events with a focus on hazardous material capabilities.
One hundred twelve of 139 EDs responded to the 2005 survey compared to 99/136 in 2012. Ten of 27 responses were statistically significant, all favoring an enhancement in disaster preparedness in 2012 when compared to 2005. Questions with improvement included: EDs with employees participating in the Michigan voluntary registry; EDs with decontamination rooms; MARK 1 and cyanide kits available; those planning to use dry decontamination, powered air purifiers, surgical masks, chemical gloves, and surgical gowns; and those wishing for better coordination with local and regional resources. Forty-two percent of EDs in 2012 had greater than one-half of their staff trained in decontamination and 81% of respondents wished for more training opportunities in disaster preparedness. Eighty-four percent of respondents believed that they were more prepared in disaster preparedness in 2012 versus seven years prior.
Emergency departments in Michigan have made significant advances in chemical hazard preparedness between 2005 and 2012 based on survey responses. Despite these improvements, staff training in decontamination and hazardous material events remains a weakness among EDs in the state of Michigan.
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