INTRODUCTION: The purpose of this research was to determine the preparedness of emergency medical services (EMS) agencies in one US state to cope with a massive epidemic event.METHODS: Data were collected primarily through telephone interviews with EMS officials throughout the State. To provide a comparison, nine out-of-state emergency services agencies were invited to participate.RESULTS: Emergency medical services agencies from nine of the 23 counties (39%) provided responses to some or all of the questions in the telephone survey. Seven of the nine out-of-state agencies provided responses to the survey. Most of the EMS agencies do not have broad, formal plans for response to large-scale bio-terrorist or pandemic events.CONCLUSIONS: The findings indicate that EMS agencies in this state fundamentally are unprepared for a large-scale bioterrorism or pandemic event. The few existing plans rely heavily on mutual aid from agencies that may be incapable of providing such aid. Therefore, EMS agencies must be prepared to manage a response to these incidents without assistance from any agencies outside of their local community. In order to accomplish this, they must begin planning and develop close working relationships with public health, healthcare, and elected officials within their local communities.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Prehospital and Disaster Medicine|
|Publication status||Published - 2007|