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In 2006, Japan DMORT was established by physicians, nurses, forensic pathologists, social workers, and a journalist (inspired by a major train crash in the previous year) to provide mental support to disaster victims’ families who had not received care. However, disaster victims’ identification and care of the families were monopolized by police in Japan. Also, our ‘study group’ status confused people who were affected by disasters.
To describe the development and future challenges of our association.
We developed our policy to focus on mental support through various activities such as the 11 closed seminars with disaster victims’ families, 21 training courses for disaster responders, and several workshops in medical or nursing conferences. In the Christchurch Earthquake, NZ (2011), with young Japanese casualties in a collapsed building, our core member reported the needs of families’ mental support, which showed the validity of our policy.
In the Great East Japan Earthquake (2011), we distributed mental health care manuals for disaster responders. In the landslides in Izu Oshima Island (2013), 3 members supported victims’ families through the town office. In the Kumamoto Earthquake (2016), two members made grief work on families of 17 victims at the prefectural police academy. These activities convinced the police of the need for medical/mental support and ourselves of the necessity for legal status. In 2017, we reorganized our association into an incorporated society. We also became official members of crime/disaster victims support liaison councils of two prefectures among 47 in Japan. In 2018, official agreements were made with the Hyogo prefectural police. But in the Heavy Rains and Flooding of July and in the Hokkaido Eastern Iburi Earthquake of September, the local police did not agree to accept us.
Official collaboration with police is essential nationwide in Japan. Further relief activities are expected.
The Asia Pacific Conference on Disaster Medicine (APCDM) started in 1988 in Osaka, Japan, and the 14th conference was held from October 16-182, 2018, in Kobe.
To give a rundown of the 14th APCDM and a proposal for WADEM.
Retrospective analysis of participants, the category of presentations, and deliverables.
With “Building Bridges for Disaster Preparedness and Response” as its main theme, the 14th APCDM was held near the epicenter of the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake in Kobe. The total number of participants was 524 from 35 countries, not only from Asia and the Pacific but also Europe and the Americas. Its program had 10 lectures by distinguished speakers such as WADEM Board members and WHO (World Health Organization), four symposia, two panel, oral and 99 poster presentations. “Preparedness” and “Education and Training” were the categories with the largest number of presentations. The presidential lecture outlined improvements made in Japan since the Great Hanshin Earthquake (disaster base hospitals, disaster medical assistance teams, emergency medical information system, and disaster medical coordinators) and emphasized the importance of standardizing components for better disaster management. This idea was echoed in symposia and round-table discussions, where experts from WHO, JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency), and ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries discussed other components such as SPEED (Surveillance in Post Extreme Emergency and Disasters) and standardization of Emergency Medical Teams.
Each country in the disaster-prone Asia-Pacific region has a different disaster management system. However, participants agreed in this conference that we can cope with disasters more efficiently by sharing the standardized components, from both academic and practical points of view. APCDM must provide these deliverables to WADEM, so both conferences can cooperate and contribute to disaster preparedness and prevention in the new era.
For recent years, we often hear the words, “never experienced before” on a weather forecast in Japan.
To evaluate our response to “Heisei 30-year July heavy rain” in the Hyogo Emergency Medical Operations Center.
Review our actions taken and exchanges of views with local government representatives in a time-related manner compared with public announcements of evacuation/sheltering warning.
A specialized warning of heavy rain was announced at 10:50 PM on Friday by the local meteorological observatory. At 11:50 PM, the emergency management headquarters of prefectural medical response was established in the hospital, but a connection could not be established to 10 regional health centers for the weekend. Water levels of some rivers were increasing nearly to flood levels, and an evacuation order was announced to hundreds of thousands of people. This situation continued for a few days throughout many regions. The information of flood or landslide probability was continuously monitored, but an attempt was made to decide the timing of cancellations of standby.
An ordinary response to disaster depends on a clear turning point, such as the occurrence time. In heavy rainfall, there are two issues. One is about actions to prevent disaster and another is a recognition of geographic points or surface. Many critiques to the response focus on the judgments and actions for prevention before a critical event. Lessons learned included the importance of preventive actions along with a timeline and the judgment of restoration.
In 2005, a seven-car commuter express train collided with an apartment building in Japan. The crash left 107 passengers dead and 549 injured. This paper highlights confined space medicine mat was provided for three survivors and introduces the current approach for training Japan Disaster Medical Teams (JDMATs) and/or rescue professionals.
A retrospective analysis of confined space medicine provided after the train crash and a study of training of JDMATs and/or rescue teams.
Three medical teams and search-and-rescue teams rescued three survivors whose bodies were trapped in the tangled wreckage of the first car. The medical teams secured intravenous lines and provided oxygen and approximately 4L of fluid before extrication. A 46-year-old woman was extricated in 14 hours, a 19-year-old man in 16.5 hours, and an 18-year-old man 22 hours after the crash. All three worsened at the final moment of extrication. Their crush syndrome required resuscitation at the scene, and intensive care such as hemodialysis and limb amputation in hospitals. Two patients survived and one patient died on me fifth day due to multiple organ dysfunctions.
Now, the curriculum of the JDMAT training course includes lectures and introductory exercises with rescue teams to learn the importance and difficulties of confined space medicine at the scene.
Confined space medicine was provided successfully after the train crash. Knowledge of confined-space medicine is essential to medical and rescue teams. Further education and training curriculum must be created.
On the morning of 25 April 2005, a Japan Railway express train derailed in an urban area of Amagasaki, Japan. The crash was Japan's worst rail disaster in 40 years.This study chroniclesthe rescue efforts and highlights the capacity of Japan's urban disaster response.
Public reports were gathered from the media, Internet, government, fire department, and railway company. Four key informants, who were close to the disaster response, were interviewed to corroborate publicdata and highlight challenges facing the response.
The crash left 107 passengers dead and 549 injured. First responders, most of whom were volunteers, were helpful in the rescue effort, and no lives were lost due to transport delays or faulty triage. Responders criticized an early decision to withdraw rescue efforts, a delay in heliport set-up, the inefficiency of the information and instruction center, and emphasized the need for training in confined space medicine. Communication and chain-of-command problems created confusion at the scene.
The urban disaster response to the train crash in Amagasaki was rapid and effective.The KobeEarthquake and other incidents sparked changes that improved disaster preparedness in Amagasaki. However, communication and cooperation among responders were hampered, as in previous disasters, by the lack of a structured command system. Application of an incident command system may improve disaster coordination in Japan.
The discussions in this theme provided an opportunity to address the unique hazards facing the Pacific Rim.
Details of the methods used are provided in the preceding paper. The chairs moderated all presentations and produced a summary that was presented to an assembly of all of the delegates. Since the findings from the Theme 3 and Theme 7 groups were similar, the chairs of both groups presided over one workshop that resulted in the generation of a set of action plans that then were reported to the collective group of all delegates.
The main points developed during the presentations and discussion included: (1) communication, (2) coordination, (3) advance planning and risk assessment, and (4) resources and knowledge.
Action plans were summarized in the following ideas: (1) plan disaster responses including the different types, identification of hazards, focusing training based on experiences, and provision of public education; (2) improve coordination and control; (3) maintain communications, assuming infrastructure breakdown; (4) maximize mitigation through standardized evaluations, the creation of a legal framework, and recognition of advocacy and public participation; and (5) provide resources and knowledge through access to existing therapies, the media, and increasing and decentralizing hospital inventories.
The problems in the Asia-Pacific rim are little different from those encountered elsewhere in the world. They should be addressed in common with the rest of the world.
To investigate the adequacy of hospital disaster preparedness in the Osaka, Japan area.
Questionnaires were constructed to elicit information from hospital administrators, pharmacists, and safety personnel about self-sufficiency in electrical, gas, water, food, and medical supplies in the event of a disaster. Questionnaires were mailed to 553 hospitals.
A total of 265 were completed and returned (Recovery rate; 48%). Of the respondents, 16% of hospitals that returned the completed surveys had an external disaster plan, 93% did not have back-up plans to accept casualties during a disaster if all beds were occupied, 8% had drugs and 6% had medical supplies stockpiled for disasters. In 78% of hospitals, independent electric power generating plants had been installed. However, despite a high proportion of power-plant equipment available, 57% of hospitals responding estimated that emergency power generation would not exceed six hours due to a shortage of reserve fuel. Of the hospitals responding, 71% had reserve water supply, 15% of hospitals responding had stockpiles of food for emergency use, and 83% reported that it would be impossible to provide meals for patients and staff with no main gas supply.
No hospitals fulfilled the criteria for adequate disaster preparedness based on the categories queried. Areas of greatest concern requiring improvement were: 1) lack of an external disaster plan; and 2) self-sufficiency in back-up energy, water, and food supply. It is recommended that hospitals in Japan be required to develop plans for emergency operations in case of an external disaster. This should be linked with hospital accreditation as is done for internal disaster plans.