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International Study Finds Ways to Maximize Effective Responses After Terrorism Incidents

A multi-disciplinary panel of blast-related injury experts from eight countries that have recently experienced terrorist attacks examined// and discussed their emergency medical response to blast events and identified common issues that could be used by others to enhance preparedness.

The represented countries included: Colombia, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, United Kingdom, United States, Spain, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. The study was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the National Association of Emergency Medical Service Physicians.

According to lead author, E. Brooke Lerner, Ph.D., assistant professor of emergency medicine at the Medical College, "Learning from nations that have experienced conventional weapon attacks on their civilian population is critical to improving preparedness worldwide. Our study found that there were a number of commonalities among these terrorist events, even though they occurred in different countries under vastly different circumstances. These commonalities can be used by all nations in their preparedness efforts."

The disaster paradigm—Detection; Incident Command; Scene Security & Safety; Assess Hazards; Support; Triage & Treatment; Evacuation; and Recovery—which can be applied to all types of mass casualty events, was selected as a framework to study responses in these different countries. In each area similarities were found. For example, it was determined that detecting an attack has occurred, such as the Madrid bombings in 2004, was not difficult but frequently the initial reports to the 9-1-1 system were misleading in terms of the scope and location of the event. This could lead to insufficient resources responding to the scene or to providers not taking the appropriate precautions against a secondary device. In discussing incident command and triage, it was found that regions that had a pre-defined command structure and triage guidelines that their providers practiced reg
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