Emergency pre-hospital disaster response training. What's the state of play?

Horrocks, Peter, Tippett, Vivienne, & Aitken, Peter (2015) Emergency pre-hospital disaster response training. What's the state of play? In 19th World Congress on Disaster and Emergency Medicine (WCDEM), 21-24 April 2015, Cape Town, South Africa.

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This study examines the current state of disaster response education for Australian paramedics from a national and international perspective and identifies both potential gaps in content and challenges to the sustainability of knowledge acquired through occasional training.


As demands for domestic and international disaster response increase, experience in the field has begun to challenge traditional assumptions that response to mass casualty events requires little specialist training. The need for a “streamlined process of safe medical team deployment into disaster regions”1 is generally accepted and, in Australia, the emergence of national humanitarian aid training has begun to respond to this gap. However, calls for a national framework for disaster health education2 haven’t received much traction.


A critical analysis of the peer reviewed and grey literature on the core components/competencies and training methods required to prepare Australian paramedics to contribute to effective health disaster response has been conducted. Research from the past 10 years has been examined along with federal and state policy with regard to paramedic disaster education.


The literature shows that education and training for disaster response is variable and that an evidence based study specifically designed to outline sets of core competencies for Australian health care professionals has never been undertaken. While such competencies in disaster response have been developed for the American paradigm it is suggested that disaster response within the Australian context is somewhat different to that of the US, and therefore a gap in the current knowledge base exists.


Further research is needed to develop core competencies specific to Australian paramedics in order to standardise teaching in the area of health disaster management. Until this occurs the task of evaluating or creating disaster curricula that adequately prepares and maintains paramedics for an effective all hazards disaster response is seen as largely unattainable.

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ID Code: 83789
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Abstract of of this presentation published in Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, see link to publisher above
DOI: 10.1017/S1049023X15000278
ISSN: 1945-1938
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > CLINICAL SCIENCES (110300) > Emergency Medicine (110305)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Emergency & Disaster Management
Current > Schools > School of Clinical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 The Author(s)
Deposited On: 28 Apr 2015 23:14
Last Modified: 18 May 2016 22:21

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