Article

The pediatrician and disaster preparedness.

PEDIATRICS (Impact Factor: 5.3). 03/2006; 117(2):e340-62. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2005-2752
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT For decades, emergency planning for natural disasters, public health emergencies, workplace accidents, and other calamities has been the responsibility of government agencies on all levels and certain nongovernment organizations such as the American Red Cross. In the case of terrorism, however, entirely new approaches to emergency planning are under development for a variety of reasons. Terrorism preparedness is a highly specific component of general emergency preparedness. In addition to the unique pediatric issues involved in general emergency preparedness, terrorism preparedness must consider several additional issues, including the unique vulnerabilities of children to various agents as well as the limited availability of age- and weight-appropriate antidotes and treatments. Although children may respond more rapidly to therapeutic intervention, they are at the same time more susceptible to various agents and conditions and more likely to deteriorate if they are not monitored carefully. This article is designed to provide an overview of key issues for the pediatrician with respect to disaster, terrorism, and public health emergency preparedness. It is not intended to be a complete compendium of didactic content but rather offers an approach to what pediatricians need to know and how pediatricians must lend their expertise to enhance preparedness in every community. To become fully and optimally prepared, pediatricians need to become familiar with these key areas of emergency preparedness: unique aspects of children related to terrorism and other disasters; terrorism preparedness; mental health vulnerabilities and development of resiliency; managing family concerns about terrorism and disaster preparedness; office-based preparedness; hospital preparedness; community, government, and public health preparedness; and advocating for children and families in preparedness planning.

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    ABSTRACT: IntroductionPaediatric Emergency Departments (PED) should have written disaster plans, to ensure a rapid and efficient response.Objectives1) to determine if Spanish PED have written disaster plans, 2) to describe the characteristics of these plans, and 3) if paediatric victims were included in them.Material and methodsDescriptive multicentre study based on questionnaires sent to physicians in charge of different Spanish PED. The structured survey included questions about external emergency plans (EEP) and internal emergency plans (IEP).ResultsTwenty-five out of 44 surveys were replied. Eighteen PED had an EEP, most of them had been written 10 years ago and were reviewed every 3 years or more. In 11/18 PED, the EEP was well-known by health care providers. Drills were never performed in 13/18 PED. Twenty-one PED had an IEP, most of them had been written 8 years ago and were reviewed every 3 years or more. In 13/21 PED, IEP was well-known by health care providers but drills were never performed in 12/21 PED. IEP included evacuation plans (22), fire emergency plans (19), bomb threat plan (13) and flood plans (9). Nine PED have paediatric-specific disaster plans and in 7 PED, disaster plans included adult and paediatric victims. Children were not included In 1 EEP and in 5 IEP.Conclusions Most of PED have written disaster plans, but these plans are old, unknown by health care providers and almost half of them do not include paediatric victims. It is necessary to improve disaster planning in Spanish PED.

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