To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
On 17 October 1989, the Loma Prieta Earthquake shook the San Francisco Bay area, home to more than 6 million people. This study examined the effectiveness and function of emergency medical services (EMS) communications after this event.
The six Bay area counties most affected by the Loma Prieta Earthquake were surveyed using a 156-part questionnaire. This study examined the functioning of the primary 9-1-1 county dispatch centers. Paramedics involved in a set of defined activities during the period after the earthquake also were surveyed. Emergency medical services directors also were questioned by telephone using an interview tool developed for this purpose. All areas concerning disaster response were not queried. Ten specific areas were considered, including: 1) preparation for disaster; 2) the impact of the earthquake; 3) reconnaissance; 4) call volume; and 5) others.
Coordination among the various agencies responsible for disaster response and mitigation needs more study. Uniform response plans for medical mutual aid need development. Government support similar to police and fire department arrangements for mutual aid are not in place. Additional planning and training for disasters at all levels need reassessment. The communication-center personnel indicated that they did not call for more resources, but instead accepted volunteers at dispatch centers and extra assistance. Once engaged, however, most communications centers (CCs) had great difficulty tracking and controlling all the units under their jurisdiction. In some large urban counties, some ambulances were idled awaiting calls but lost their communications centers, while other ambulance personnel were trying to handle multiple patients and requests for services.
Significant help from a state or federal agency likely will be unavailable for a substantial period after a catastrophic regional event. Important coordination among EMS agencies for disaster response is poor or absent. Although fatalities and casualties were limited compared to what could have occurred, great confusion reigned for varying periods of time after the earthquake. Communications among local agencies, counties, and the state were problematic. Information flow to hospitals was cited frequently as a problem, making it difficult for hospitals to prepare adequately. Medical mutual-aid help was disorganized and inadequately controlled. The training of personnel and the method of recall for disaster response need to be examined.
To study hospital disaster operations following a major United States disaster.
Researchers interviewed all 51 hospital administrators and 49 of 51 emergency department (ED) charge nurses and emergency physicians who were on duty at the study hospitals during the 13-hour period immediately following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.
The 51 acute-care hospitals in the six northern California counties most affected by the Loma Prieta earthquake.
Questionnaires and inperson interviews.
The most frequently noted problem was lack of communications within and among organizations. Hospitals received inadequate information about the disaster from local governmental agencies. Forty-three percent of hospitals had inadequate back-up power configurations, and five hospitals sustained total back-up generator failures. Twenty hospitals performed partial evacuations.
The Loma Prieta earthquake did not cause total disruption of hospital services. Hospitals need to work with local governmental agencies and internal hospital departments to improve disaster communications.
The role of the base-hospital and on-line medical control in a disaster has not been investigated previously. This study assesses the roles of base-hospitals and the value and feasibility of on-line medical control during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.
The researchers studied five Bay Area counties most affected by the earthquake: San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz. Researchers sent questionnaires to all 1,498 registered EMTs and paramedics in these counties; 620 were returned (41.4%). Respondents answered questions about activities performed, contacts with base-hospitals and other agencies, and problems encountered the night of the earthquake. Researchers selected 63 paramedics for in-depth interviews based on their performance of significant advanced life support (ALS) activities performed during the disaster. The coordinators of the 13 base-hospitals (BHCs) in the region also received and returned questionnaires about medical control, base-hospital roles during the disaster, and problems encountered. Researchers interviewed all five county emergency medical services (EMS) agency directors.
The surveys of EMS directors, base-hospital coordinators, and paramedics indicate that confusion existed over the status of medical control after the earthquake. There was general agreement among base-hospital coordinators (BHCs) that suspension of medical control is appropriate in a major disaster.
Three bases had appropriate equipment to function as back-up dispatch centers. Eight bases had adequate personnel, but only one BHC felt his personnel had adequate training to function in a dispatch capacity. Nine paramedics did not start or continue resuscitation on patients whom they ordinarily would have begun resuscitation.
Emergency medical services should suspend medical control immediately following a major disaster and ensure that all prehospital and base personnel are notified. Disrupted communications protocols for prehospital personnel should reflect the skill and knowledge level of paramedics and the need for rapid, advanced practice in a disaster. Disaster planners should consider other roles for base hospitals in major disasters.
A prior report demonstrated a five-minute decrement in scene and total prehospital times in the standing order and limited standing order intervals as compared to control.
The Alameda County Emergency Medical Service (EMS) District studied the impact of standing orders on field times, comparison of paramedic assessments with emergency department diagnoses, field drug use and procedures, and hospital outcome. These variables were studied over three discrete, six-week, time-study intervals, which represented three different levels of base-hospital medical control (control, standing order, and limited standing order).
There were no statistically significant differences between the three time-study intervals for the following variables: 1) incidence of prehospital administration of three cardiac arrest drugs; 2) incidence of prehospital administration of no drugs; 3) incidence of performance of endotracheal intubation; 4) incidence of performance of defibrillation; 5) assessment comparison; and 6) hospital outcome. There were statistically significant differences between intervals for incidence of: 1) administration of naloxone; 2) administration of 50% dextrose; 3) intravenous (IV) starts; and 4) paramedic performance of no procedures.
Although there are several potential flaws in method, the data suggest that standing orders result in decreased incidence of drug administration and IV starts in non-critical situations without a negative impact on paramedic assessments or hospital outcome.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.