International Lessons to Improve Mass Fatality Management During a Pandemic Influenza Event   [open pdf - 414KB]

"High mortality incidents are rare in the United States but they frequently occur overseas. However, the lessons from these incidents are rarely captured and applied to the domestic decision-making process. In order to review and analyze information from past international experiences in mass fatality management [MFM], key participants were interviewed from six case studies of catastrophic events from the last ten years (1998-2008). Mass fatality management strategies, successes and failures, and lessons regarding coordination and operational procedures were collected from these past international events. Current interagency emergency structures relating to mass fatality management were examined for five nations and for the United States on both a national and state level. Of the six national emergency response frameworks reviewed, the United Kingdom presented the most inclusive plans on mass fatality management. For the US state level, only 46% of US state pandemic influenza plans analyzed address mass fatality management. Considerations, derived from both past events and current mass fatality planning, are identified for US policy in the areas of preparedness, organization, communications, and operations. Internationally, a common international MFM framework would facilitate identification, disposition, and possible repatriation of remains and would be beneficial in cross border mass fatality events like pandemic influenza."

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Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy: http://www.drlatulane.org/
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