The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2007 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

DISASTER PREPAREDNESS AMONG HOSPITAL RESPIRATORY CARE PRACTIONERS

S. Gsell1

With 9/11 at the forefront of disaster planning Respiratory Therapists must be prepared to respond to all types of disaster scenarios, mass casualties, chemical, biological or radiological in nature. Respiratory Therapists not only need knowledge in the application of disaster protocols but must also be cognitive in minimizing risks or compromising their own health and safety.

Method: A survey consisting of 16 questions was sent out nationally over a four-week period, 185 therapists completed the questionaire. The survey posed questions on the therapist’s ability to respond to and whether or not they felt they had sufficient knowledge pertaining to their roles in a major disaster.

Results: The questions posed to the therapists and the results are as follow. (see graph)

Conclusion: Although one can never be fully prepared for a catastrophic event, the majority of therapists surveyed felt secure with the ability to respond to a major disaster. A disaster may strike at any time and the respiratory therapist needs to be fully aware of the implications it may have. Therapists should take the initiative in educating themselves on all aspects of disaster medicine and their managers should support the staff by making time to have proper disaster training and updates.

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