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An inland earthquake is expected to occur in Tokyo in the near future, and disaster preparedness and response measures have been put in place by the government of Japan and local authorities.
Japan Disaster Medical Assistant Teams (DMATs) conducted two large-scale drills for the first time in preparation for a Tokyo inland earthquake, in collaboration with the following participants: the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, disaster base hospitals in Tokyo, three Staging Care Units (SCUs), and neighboring prefectures. One of the scenarios was a north Tokyo Bay earthquake affecting the Tokyo wards and had 142 Japan DMATs participation. Another scenario was Tama inland earthquake affected mid-west of Tokyo and 110 DMATs participated. The drill included headquarters operation, affected hospital support operation, patient transportation within the area and to the wider region, SCU operation, collaboration with associated organizations, and logistics operation.
Post-drill assessments identified the following areas that need to be addressed: review of Japan DMAT implementation strategies; improvement of SCUs; establishment of a patient air transportation framework; securing means of patient transportation; improvement of communication systems; strengthening of disaster response of all hospitals in the Tokyo Metropolis; and preparations for survival in the event of isolation caused by the disaster.
Japan experienced several major disasters in 2018.
Evaluation of medical response was conducted and problems determined to solve for future response.
An evaluation conducted on DMAT responding report of Northern Osaka Earthquake, West Japan Torrential Rain Disaster, Typhoon Jebi, and Hokkaido Iburi East Earthquake.
DMAT responded 58 teams for Osaka Northern Earthquake, 119 teams for West Japan Torrential Rain Disaster, 17 teams for Typhoon Jebi, 67 teams for Hokkaido Iburi East Earthquake. At the Osaka Northern Earthquake, by comparing the report of seismic diagnosis, results and, a magnitude of each region, hospital damage was evaluated. At the West Japan Torrential Rain Disaster, a flood hazard map was used to expect inundation at hospitals. At the Hokkaido Iburi East Earthquake, information of hospital generator was gathered and planned assistance for loss of power. Water supply cessation in the West Japan Torrential Rain Disaster and loss of power in the Hokkaido Iburi East Earthquake influenced hospital functionality. More precise preparation for hospital management in the event of a loss of power and water supply situation required in not only in local government but also each hospital. For the West Japan Torrential Rain Disaster, we experienced the same type of major disasters in the past, but could not manage accordingly. For the Hokkaido Iburi East Earthquake, we applied what was learned from the West Japan Torrential Rain Disaster.
Disaster medical operation was supposed to be managed with information from the Emergency Medical Information System (EMIS). However, 2018 disasters provided lessons that require a full understanding of disaster prior information and expected disaster damage information to manage disaster assistance. To accomplish effective disaster assistance, information must be gathered of supplies and assistance required by hospitals. An effective system to facilitate lessons learned needs to be developed
The aim of this study was to identify disaster medical operation improvements from the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake (Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan) and to extract further lessons learned to prepare for future expected major earthquakes.
The records of communications logs, chronological transitions of chain of command, and team registration logs for the Disaster Medical Assistant Team (DMAT), as well as other disaster medical relief teams, were evaluated.
A total of 466 DMAT teams and 2,071 DMAT team members were deployed to the Kumamoto area, and 1,894 disaster medical relief teams and 8,471 disaster medical relief team member deployments followed. The DMAT established a medical coordination command post at several key disaster hospitals to designate medical coverage areas. The DMAT evacuated over 1,400 patients from damaged hospitals, transported medical supplies to affected hospitals, and coordinated 14 doctor helicopters used for severe patient transport. To keep constant medical and public health operations, DMAT provided medical coordination management until the local medical coordination was on-track. Several logistic teams, which are highly trained on operation and management of medical coordination command, were dispatched to assist management operation. The DMAT also helped to establish Disaster Coordination and Management Council at the prefectural- and municipal-level, and also coordinated command control for public health operations. The DMAT could provide not only medical assistance at the acute phase of the disaster, but also could provide medical coordination for public health and welfare.
During the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake, needs of public health and welfare increased enormously due to the sudden evacuation of a large number of residents. To provide constant medical assistance at the disaster area, DMAT, logistic teams, and other disaster medical relief teams must operate constant coordination at the medical headquarter command. For future expected major earthquakes in Japan, it will be required to educate and secure high enough numbers of disaster medical assistance and health care personnel to provide continuous medical and public health care for the affected area residents.
Kondo H, Koido Y, Kawashima Y, Kohayagawa Y, Misaki M, Takahashi A, Kondo Y, Chishima K, Toyokuni Y. Consideration of medical and public health coordination – experience from the 2016 Kumamoto, Japan Earthquake. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2019;34(2):149–154
This study aimed to evaluate factors associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and burnout 4 years after the Great East Japan Earthquake among medical rescue workers in Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs).
We examined participants’ background characteristics, prior health condition, rescue work experiences, and the Peritraumatic Distress Inventory (PDI) score at 1 month after the earthquake. Current psychological condition was assessed by the Impact of Event Scale-Revised and Maslach Burnout Inventory administered 4 years after the earthquake. By applying univariate and multivariate linear regression analyses, we assessed the relative value of the PDI and other baseline variables for PTSD symptoms and burnout at 4 years after the earthquake.
We obtained baseline data from 254 participants during April 2 to 22, 2011. Of the 254 participants, 188 (74.0%) completed the follow-up assessment. PDI score 1 month after the earthquake was associated with symptoms of PTSD (β=0.35, P<.01) and burnout (β=0.21, P<.01). Stress before deployment was a related factor for burnout 4 years after the earthquake in these medical rescue workers (β=2.61, P<.04).
It seems important for DMAT headquarters to establish a routine system for assessing the PDI of medical rescue workers after deployment and screen those workers who have high stress prior to deployment (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;10:848–853)
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