Regional coordination in medical emergencies and major incidents; plan, execute and teach
Prehospital and Disaster Medicine Centre, Gothenburg, Sweden
Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine 2009, 17:32 doi:10.1186/1757-7241-17-32Published: 20 July 2009
Although disasters and major incidents are difficult to predict, the results can be mitigated through planning, training and coordinated management of available resources. Following a fire in a disco in Gothenburg, causing 63 deaths and over 200 casualties, a medical disaster response centre was created. The center was given the task to coordinate risk assessments, disaster planning and training of staff within the region and on an executive level, to be the point of contact (POC) with authority to act as "gold control," i.e. to take immediate strategic command over all medical resources within the region if needed. The aim of this study was to find out if the centre had achieved its tasks by analyzing its activities.
All details concerning alerts of the regional POC was entered a web-based log by the duty officer. The data registered in this database was analyzed during a 3-year period.
There was an increase in number of alerts between 2006 and 2008, which resulted in 6293 activities including risk assessments and 4473 contacts with major institutions or key persons to coordinate or initiate actions. Eighty five percent of the missions were completed within 24 h. Twenty eight exercises were performed of which 4 lasted more than 24 h. The centre also offered 145 courses in disaster and emergency medicine and crisis communication.
The data presented in this study indicates that the center had achieved its primary tasks. Such regional organization with executive, planning, teaching and training responsibilities offers possibilities for planning, teaching and training disaster medicine by giving immediate feed-back based on real incidents.