Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response

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The American Red Cross team and the Nurses Association define the term disasters as events that are caused by natural or man-made forces. These events lead to failure in infrastructural systems and in turn disruption to the safety and health of a community and entire nation. These situations can only be curbed through assistance from other professionals such as nurses, doctors, and rescue operators. However, the consequences of such attacks are severe in cases where these professionals are not adequately prepared to handle each event in case it occurs. Lack of proper preparation undermines the health and safety of both patients and their nurses. The information that outlines guidelines for what nurses and other practitioners In the field of disaster management should do is readily available, but there is also little information dictating what patients should do when they are at their patients bedside. The purpose of this paper is to outline a disaster event that occurred in a community and the manner in which nurses responded to the attack. It also provides an overview of two practices that the nurses would have employed in their service.

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Man-made disasters are ranked second to the natural disasters due to the impact of destruction brought about by their occurrence as well as the number of casualties who suffer. Man-made disasters can, however, be deliberate or accidental (In Stanhope, & In Lancaster, J. 2014, p. 33). Recently, our community suffered massive losses in property destruction and loved ones. Since our main road connects the northern part of the country with the capital and the coastal region, many trucks use the road to ship cargo from and to desired destinations. As a result, many petroleum trucks use the route to ferry fuel from the coast to highland regions in the country. Late last month, a truck that was shipping petroleum to towns within the county happened to veer of the road and fell into a ditch just off the road. Both the driver and is assistant were badly injured during the incident, and they were all unconscious by the time people started flocking the scene of the accident. When people realized the truck was carrying petroleum, they quickly pulled out the personnel from the truck then started siphoning fuel from the taps that dispensed the fuel. Only a few people had realized their luck and began siphoning but within a few minutes, everyone wanted a share of the God-given blessing. It is important to note that plenty of people within the region are compulsive smokers, and since it was during morning hours, most of them were probably smoking to fight the cold. Before the authorities were alerted, it was already too late since the truck blew up in flames and this was the only time authorities were notified. By the time they were arriving at the scene of the fire, many were burned severely while some were dead already.

The nearby hospital responded quickly to the alert and deployed several ambulances and nurses to assess the situation of the victims of an attack. The hospital team arrived together with the fire and rescue team, which had to come from another Centre out of town. The nurses and rescue operators were very efficient and tactical in the manner they offered their rescue and treatment services. For instance, the nurses who responded to the scene of the attack and left with patients to the hospital seemed to be well aware of their institutions disaster response plan since they began by directing all patients who can ambulate to the hospital and other safety locations (Johnstone, & Turale, 2014, p.23). While treating the severely burnt victims, the nurses provided the needed reassurance to the victims and listened keenly to the instructions provided by the doctors in charge. The number of victims who suffered from the attack were quite many, and the nurses, therefore, utilized the upside down triage. In this technique of disaster management, the nurses base their care on the urgency and the kind of condition the disaster posed. The nurses well practiced this skill since they quickly remove the victims from the scene of the fire and moved them into the hospital setting. In addition, like the rest of the rescue operators, the nurses were well clad in protective clothing and equipment for the entire working period.

The nurses provided top priority to the walking survivors and provided initial treatment to these victims. The healthcare institutions who responded to the scene of the fire were more than two since some of them were utilizing the five-triage system of casualty management, which is recommended by the Emergency Nursing Association. According to the association, this method is safer since it categorizes patients according to the disaster sternness index (Flanagan, et. al 2011, p. 25). It also offers a flowchart algorithm based on the needed resources and patient acuity. Using this technique, theses nurses treated those who were severely injured first while those with less severe injuries were treated afterward. The method is also useful since it helps in assessing the situation at hand. It aids in classifying the situation at hand and hence providing a clear list of patients receiving care classified according to the severity of the injury. This triage method balances patient need with the realities of the situation as regards to supplies and personnel. This method is a continuous process that requires reassignments as conditions, time, and reassignments change.

The manner in which the nurses conducted themselves in the scene of the disaster was quite remarkable and very professional since only two of the severely injured victims died while being ambulated to healthcare centers. All the rest were well treated, and their conditions stabilized. However, there are some practices that are essential in the response period and after which the nurses did not pay close attention to. These two would be very beneficial to the results they achieve as regards to patient recovery. However, it was noted that the different policies set by different institutions that responded to the disaster were responsible for the lack of adherence to these two practices since they mainly require cooperation and disclosure of patient information to colleague institutions. The first practice concerns patient evaluation. By utilizing this practice, it is important to note that every nurse should be capable of using the assessment skills they acquired in a different manner. Nurses need to evaluate every patient for severe effects such as shock and try to control them. They also need to keep their current patients safe as the new ones are moved to the inpatient status. If some of the patients are conscious, it is only important to assume that the patients are suffering from spinal injuries (Lewis, et. al 2014, p. 11). Once this assumption has been made, then the nurses can listen for any changes in the patients breathing patterns and check their breathing for probable airway blockades. The second practice involves the post event services. After the attack has already occurred and several of the patients are in their recovery periods in health centers, the nurses should consider offering mental health support to their patients and re-establish their self-efficiency. Also, they should provide continued care for the patients and advise them to visit the centers for regular checkups. The other part of the post-event practice mainly touches on officials in charge. It is up to the officials to assess the events that have occurred and come up with measures to avert similar disasters. They should also set up additional facilities to cater for the provision of needed services to patients. These facilities should be able to accommodate the relatives of victims when they come to visit.

This paper provides an outline of the event of a fire as an example of a disaster that needs the skills of disaster prepared nurses and relevant professionals. Also, it emphasizes the need for these nurses to follow techniques which have been set by their institutions to enable them to provide good services to victims of a disaster. To support this emphasis, this paper offers two methods, which were used in the event as well as two more practices, which the nurses should consider in the event of another disaster.


In Stanhope, M., & In Lancaster, J. (2014). Public health nursing: Population-centered health care in the community.

Lewis, S. L., Dirksen, S. R., Heitkemper, M. M., & Bucher, L. (2014). Medical-Surgical Nursing: Assessment and Management of Clinical Problems, Single Volume. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Johnstone, M., & Turale, S. (2014). Nurses' experiences of ethical preparedness for public health emergencies and healthcare disasters: A systematic review of qualitative evidence. Nursing & Health Sciences, 16(1), 67-77.

Flanagan, B. E., Gregory, E. W., Hallisey, E. J., Heitgerd, J. L., & Lewis, B. (2011). A social vulnerability index for disaster management. Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, 8(1).

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