Respiratory Therapy: Disaster and Mass Casualty Incident Planning Guide for Healthcare Professionals

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About Course #V7295

Release Date: August 17, 2017

Expiration Date: September 17, 2020

Introducing the concept of creating a healthcare facilities disaster-planning guide initially may raise eyebrows, because society assumes that every facility is already prepared for anything. Both state and federal agencies have pushed, nudged, and offered resources to facilities to "get prepared," yet the reality is that most facilities have only a basic emergency preparedness plan, preparing for a specific type of regional disaster based on their best guess of which event will occur. Although it is true that the facility cannot fully prepare for everything, these basic plans are "off-the-shelf" plans designed to be implemented in response to predefined specific events and lack the needed flexibility to be readily adapted to unexpected disasters.

This intermediate-level course is intended for healthcare professionals, emergency management, and administrators. The information in this course outlines the initial plans to address a multitude of possible variations of disaster. After completing this course, healthcare professionals will have the basic information they need to develop an effective plan for a potential disaster or mass casualty incident. The plan will reflect the facility's ability to adapt to critical environmental and organizational needs and risks.

Course Objectives

  • Describe the core mandate a facility should establish in the event of a disaster or mass casualty incident (MCI).
  • Define disasters and mass casualty incidents, and the risk assessment involved in developing an emergency response plan.
  • Describe the clinical application of three triage systems, START, SALT, and SOFA.
  • Detail the stepwise approach for establishing effective responses for Level 1, 2, and 3 disasters, and the thresholds for each.
  • Describe a resource survey to determine the availability of resources, what will be needed, and what can be obtained.
  • Detail the five layers of protection in a facility security response plan.
  • Describe the considerations involved in an emergency response evacuation plan and relocation to austere sites.
  • Describe recovery planning when returning to normal operations after a disaster or mass casualty incident is over.

About the Author(s)

Dave E. Swift, RRT, has been a registered respiratory therapist since 1983. In 1999, Mr. Swift was tasked with facilitating Ottawa Hospital's preparation for Y2K. Taking an active interest in emergency preparedness, he began his training in disaster and emergency preparedness. In 2007, Mr. Swift became the subject matter expert and respiratory therapy team lead for the National Office of the Healthcare Emergency Response Team (NOHERT), a Canadian federal team for Health Canada. His instruction included chemical, biological, radiation, and nuclear (CBRN) train-the-trainer (provided by the Canadian Security and Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Army Medical Command, Dietrich, Maryland), emergency response in austere locations, and disaster management and planning.

Course Disclosures

  • Courses must be completed on or before the expiration date noted in the course description above.
  • You must score 75% or higher on the final exam and complete the course evaluation to pass this course and receive a certificate of completion.
  • Through our review processes, Western Schools ensures that this course content is presented in a balanced, unbiased manner and is free from commercial influence. It is Western Schools' policy not to accept commercial support.
  • All persons involved in the planning and development of this course have disclosed no relevant financial relationships or other conflicts of interest related to the course content.

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