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In light of government investment over the past decade, we explored the capacity for disaster response in Heilongjiang Province, identifying the factors that affect response capacity.
We surveyed 1257 medical staff in 65 secondary and tertiary hospitals in Heilongjiang province to explore their perceptions of disaster management capacity using a cross-sectional multistage, stratified cluster sampling method.
All tertiary hospitals (100%) and most secondary hospitals (93%) have documented disaster management plans that are regularly reviewed. In secondary hospitals, drills were less prevalent (76.7%) but the occurrence of simulated training exercises was closer to tertiary hospitals (86.0%). We noted that 95.4% of all hospitals have leadership groups responsible for disaster preparedness capacity building, but only 10.8% have a stockpiled network of reserve supplies.
Although response capacity has improved in Heilongjiang Province, vulnerabilities remain. We recommend that priorities should be targeted at preparedness capacity building, in terms of reliable and relevant operational response plans, the expansion of existing response mechanisms to oversee local education and scenario training, and to ensure there is sufficient access to protective equipment and materials, either held in reserve, or alternatively by activating resilient supply chain mechanisms. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2018;12:176–183)
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