Hospital preparedness for mass gathering events and mass casualty incidents in Matera, Italy, European Capital of Culture 2019
Erasmo Roberto Campanale 1 , Margherita Maragno 2 , Gaetano Annese 3 , Angela Cafarelli 3 , Rosario Coretti 2 , Josepmaria Argemì 4 , Maria Teresa Cibelli 5 , Riccardo Sannicandro 5 , Carl Montan 6 , Roberto Faccincani 5
Introduction: Mass Casualty Incidents (MCI) may occur during Mass Gathering Events (MGE). A failure to prepare and train the health care system for potential MCI, can cause chaos and delays in the response, leading to an increased morbidity and mortality. Education and training of staff are crucial for preparedness. In Italy, hospital Emergency Plans for Massive Influx of Injured (in Italian designated with the acronym PEMAF) are mandatory since the '90's.
However, when available, they are usually poorly known by the staff, rarely reviewed and validated. In 2014, Matera, a city in Southern Italy, was designated as the European Capital of Culture for 2019. As a result, we took this opportunity to revise the "Madonna delle Grazie" PEMAF and to start a program for increasing the awareness of the plan among the medical staff and provide specific training for MCI management.
Material & methods: The PEMAF was reviewed through simulations that involved the entire staff. A partnership with the International Association for Medical Response to Major Incidents & Disasters (MRMI) led to the support of experts and to the organization of residential courses based on the MAss Casualty SIMulation tool (MACSIM®). In total, six residential educational events of MACSIM-PEMAF were organized. Individual capacity was tested before and after the education through self-administered semi-quantitative questionnaires.
Results: All the available resources were mapped and the functional areas identified. Alert, coordination and command sequences were defined. The communication network was improved. Documentation and registration systems were developed. Standard operational procedures (action cards) were created for the key positions. The knowledge and capacity to function in active roles during a MCI was improved among the participants in the educational program.
Conclusions: MGE are great opportunities for the development of the hosting community but also represent an increased risk of MCI. Preparedness is mandatory for health care systems. The educational format MACSIM-PEMAF seems to be adequate to review and improve the existing plans and transfer specific skills to attendants.