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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.
BelskyJB, KlausnerHA, KarsonJ, DunneRB. Survey of Emergency Department Chemical Hazard Preparedness in Michigan, USA: A Seven Year Comparison. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2016;31(2):224–227.
The blackout in North America of August 2003 was one of the worst on record. It affected eight United States states and parts of Canada for >24 hours. Additionally, two large United States cities, Detroit, Michigan and Cleveland, Ohio, suffered from a loss of water pressure and a subsequent ban on the use of public supplies of potable water that lasted four days. A literature review revealed a paucity of literature that describes blackouts and how they may affect the medical community.
This paper includes a review of after-action reports from four inner-city, urban hospitals supplemented accounts from the authors' hospital's emergency operations center (emergency operations center).
Some of the problems encountered, included: (1)lighting; (2) elevator operations; (3) supplies of water; (4) communication operations; (5) computer failure; (6) lack of adequate supplies of food; (7) mobility to obtain Xray studies; (8) heating, air condition, and ventilation; (9) staffing; (10) pharmacy; (11) registration of patients; (12) hospital emergency operations center; (13) loss of isolation facilities; (14) inadequate supplies of paper; (15) impaired ability to provide care for non-emergency patients; (16) sanitation; and (17) inadequate emergency power.
The blackout of 2003 uncovered problems within the United States hospital system, ranging from staffing to generator coverage. This report is a review of the effects that the blackout and water ban of 2003 had on hospitals in a large inner-city area. Also discussed are solutions utilized at the time and recommendations for the future.
The blackout of 2003 was an excellent test of disaster/emergency planning, and produced many valuable lessons to be used in future events.
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