Michigan emergency departments are better prepared to respond to disaster

Emergency Departments across Michigan are better prepared to handle a disaster today than they were seven years ago, according to a Henry Ford Hospital study.

The study found that 84 percent of emergency departments said they are more prepared to handle a terrorist attack or natural disaster than they were in 2005.

They've also enhanced their preparedness efforts by adding decontamination rooms, stockpiling antidotes for and cyanide, and storing more respiratory protection supplies.

At the same time, emergency departments acknowledged they could benefit from more disaster training, more equipment, and better coordination with local and regional emergency agencies.

The findings are being presented Monday at the American College of Emergency Physicians' annual meeting in Seattle.

Howard Klausner, M.D., a Henry Ford emergency medicine physician and the study's senior author, says people should interpret the findings with perspective.

"Hospitals think they're prepared, and on paper it might appear to be the case. But unless you've been through a real event, you just don't know," says Dr. Klausner. "Every time there's something in the news, hospitals wonder if that's something that could happen in their area and how they would respond. Compared to other parts of the country, the chance of a natural disaster happening in Michigan is very unlikely. However, preparedness is still very important."

The retrospective study analyzed differences in emergency preparedness based on responses to a 31-question survey sent to all Michigan emergency departments in 2012 and 2005. In 2012, 99 of 136 emergency departments responded to the survey compared to 112 of 139 emergency departments in 2005.

Questions ranged from the number of patients requiring decontamination and availability of antidote kits for nerve gas and cyanide to skin protection types for staff and communication network participation.

Related Stories

Older patients need special care in emergency departments

date Jul 22, 2013

A large international study led by the Centre for Research in Geriatric Medicine at The University of Queensland suggests that emergency departments should focus their attention on the needs of frail older people.

Northwest hospitals unprepared for chemical emergencies

date Dec 20, 2007

Many hospitals in the northwest of England are ill-prepared to deal with a major chemical incident. According to a survey published in the online open access journal BMC Emergency Medicine. Two out of 18 hospitals in the ...

Ban on ambulance diversions doesn't worsen ER crowding

date Jan 03, 2013

(HealthDay)—A 2009 ban on ambulance diversion in Massachusetts did not worsen crowding in emergency departments or ambulance turnaround times, according to research published online Dec. 21 in the Annals of ...

Recommended for you

Why icing doesn't work to heal injuries

date 28 minutes ago

Applying ice to a muscle after injury is a commonly prescribed therapy for treating muscle bruises. But does it really speed recovery time and help the muscle to heal?

Sleep apnea during pregnancy is not good for mother or baby

date 45 minutes ago

Sleep apnea, a disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops during sleep, is a potentially serious condition because it deprives the body of oxygen. It becomes an even more serious condition in pregnant women—who ...

More reasons why getting a good night's sleep is important

date 51 minutes ago

Not getting enough sleep not only makes our minds less alert, but our bodies too. Studies have suggested that losing several hours of sleep can slow the body's metabolism, but what about losing only a few hours? A team of ...

Should we tax unhealthy foods?

date 51 minutes ago

What does a 20-ounce bottle of soda cost? If you said 99 cents, you are only partly right. While that may be the price on the sticker at the store, it doesn't take into account the cost to public health. One study, for example, ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.