230316 Pediatric Preparedness of Emergency Medical Services Providers for Blast and Radiological-related Incidents

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 11:10 AM - 11:30 AM

Michael J. Reilly, DrPH, MPH, NREMT-P CEM , National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health, New York, NY
David S. Markenson, MD , Center for Disaster Medicine, New York Medical College, School of Public Health, Valhalla, NY
Introduction: Recent reports have discussed major deficiencies in the preparedness of emergency medical services (EMS) systems to effectively respond to disasters, terrorism and other public health emergencies. Lack of funding, lack of national uniformity of systems and oversight, and lack of necessary education and training have all been cited as reasons for the inadequate emergency medical preparedness in the US. Methods: A nationally representative sample of the basic and paramedic emergency medical service providers in the United States was surveyed to assess whether they had received training in pediatric considerations for blast and radiological-related events, as part of their initial provider training and continuing medical education (CME) within the past 24 months. Providers were also surveyed as to their comfort level in responding to and treating pediatric victims of these events. Results: Greater than 70% of respondents reported no training as part of their initial provider education in considerations for pediatrics following blast events. Over 80% of respondents reported no training in considerations for pediatrics following events associated with a release of radiation or radioactivity. 88% of respondents stated they were not comfortable with responding to or treating pediatric victims of a radiological incident. Conclusions: EMS workers with more hours of training in these areas report higher levels of comfort responding to and treating victims of these incidents. National standards on education of EMS workers should include content on terrorism-related morbidity and mortality in order to improve the capacity of the Nation's medical first responders to mitigate a terrorist attack.

Learning Objectives:
Objective: Describe the lack of preparedness among US medical first responders for mass casualty events involving pediatric victims. Objective: Discuss the educational and operational barriers to low levels of self-reported comfort in responding to and treating pediatric victims of blast and radiological-related events. Objective: Identify strategies to improve the comfort and willingness of emergency medical services providers to respond to and effectively manage mass casualty events involving pediatric victims.

Keywords: Disasters, Pediatrics

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the assistant director of the Center for Disaster Medicine at New York Medical College and engage in research directed at emergency, disaster and public health preparedness.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.