Paediatric disaster preparedness: essential concepts for paramedics

Children are the world's most valuable resource and its best hope for the future (John F Kennedy, 1963). Recent natural disasters and terrorist attacks have shown how imperative it is that communities and nations address the needs of children to ensure that they thrive in the face of adversity. As first responders and front line workers during disasters involving children, paramedics have a unique and important role in planning paediatric disaster preparedness as well as facilitating personal disaster preparedness. Paediatric disaster preparedness on all levels, from individual to institutional, will lead to improved outcomes in disasters involving children. Although different medical, legal, and administrative structures exist between the UK and the US, some of the lessons learned in the US can enhance paediatric disaster preparedness in all countries. This article aims discuss how paramedics and other first responders can close the gap between available and needed paediatric providers. Specifically, we review how paramedic primary and continuing education can target deficiencies identified by various supervising organizations, and how training can be performed using several successful high fidelity models produced through these resource centres

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