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J Korean Soc Emerg Med > Volume 19(3); 2008 > Article
Journal of The Korean Society of Emergency Medicine 2008;19(3): 263-272.
Emergency Medical Centers Preparedness for a Biological Disaster in Korea
Tae Jin Park, Woo Ju Kim, Jae Chul Yun, Bum Jin Oh, Kyoung Soo Lim, Bu Su Lee, Tae Ho Lim, Jae baek Lee, Eun Suk Hong
1Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Korea. kslim@amc.seoul.kr
2Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Kangneung Asan Medical Center, Kangneung, Korea.
3Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Hanyang College of Medicine, Hanyang University Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.
4Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Chonbuk College of Medicine, Chonbuk National University Medical Center, Chonbuk, Korea.
5Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Ulsan University Medical Center, Ulsan, Korea.
To investigate different emergency medical centers' (EMCs) preparedness for a biological disaster in Korea.
A survey of 120 EMCs in Korea was done through questionnaire. We examined facilities, equipments and supplies, and emergency personnel training and drill.
Ninety (75%) EMCs participated in the survey. Sixteen were from regional/specialized EMCs and 74 were from local EMCs. The median for the number of staffed beds were 680(range, 200~2200) and the median for patient visits were 73(range, 24~210) per day. Ten(11%) of the 90 participating EMCs had personal protective equipments (PPEs); 7(8%) had wet decontamination units; 11(12%) had independent ventilation systems; 15(17%) had mechanical ventilator; 9(10%) had life lines; 39(43%) had alternative care sites and none (0%) had triage tag with presence of contamination. At least one drill was conducted annually in 11(12%). When the availability of resources needed in a biological disaster between regional/specialized EMCs and local EMCs were compared, the regional/specialized EMCs had PPEs(38% vs. 5%, p<0.01), wet decontamination unit(44% vs. 0%, p<0.01), independent ventilation systems (31% vs. 8%, p<0.05), and drills (38% vs. 7%, p<0.01) more frequently than local EMCs. Approximately 70% of the respondents attributed the above passive preparedness results from a lack of budget and the notion that only the minimum preparedness is necessary for the possibility of a biological disaster. Also, half of the respondents agreed that new infectious diseases will occur with a possibility of more than 50% in the future.
Our data indicated that preparedness of EMCs for a biological disaster in Korea was low. Therefore, we should develop comprehensive plans to remedy the identified deficiencies.
Key words: Emergency Preparedness, Biological warfare, Disaster Planning
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