Saturday, September 10, 2011

we aren't ready for a major disaster

Seeing all the 9/11 anniversary coverage makes me think how we would handle a big disaster in my emergency room. I have always thought we are unprepared. I still think we are.

I have never in all my years in the ER had any training in disaster management. There are plans in place in a big binder and online. These are detailed plans that outlien how it all should go. No one ever looks at any of it. It would no doubt be a free for all.

We would handle it. We would have to. There would be no other choice. What scares me the most are the threat of chemical, biological, radioactive stuff. The idea that someone would contaminate the hospital before we would realize what we are dealing with. It also feels proposterous that we would be decontaminating people out in the ambulance bay. But what do I know?

The question is with all the money that has been put into homeland security, terrorism preparedness, it seems like little has been directed toward emergency rooms where the victims would end up. We really have no idea how it would all go, how it would be coordinated between us and other parts of the EMS. Why is that?

There have been some changes: We now have a statewide tracking system of bed availability that is reported every day. In any major event, we are notified what has happened, number of victims and where they are going. Thats progress. But its the actual care of patients that is not being addressed. I wonder if the planning for all of this will ever get to us, the people who will actually care for the victims.

Your thoughts?


Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

My thoughts: We are in deep doodoo. No one has a clue what we will do or how we will do it.

Nurse K said...

I actually got to put on the E.T. suit this year with the respirator and we set up the hoses and all that crap. First time I got any type of hands-on training in 8 years as an ER nurse.

Rick Russotti said...

Thank you for writing with honesty. I've shared a similar view for years while conducting training for EMS/fire and health care.

hoodnurse said...

My hospital is totally screwed. We can hardly handle the normal influx of patients in the winter. Major disaster, there will most likely be rioting. Seriously.

rnraquel said...

My ER is chaos on a good day :(