Disasters with significant numbers of burn-injured patients create incredible challenges for disaster planners. Although not unique to burn care, high-intensity areas of speciality such as burns, pediatrics, and trauma quickly become scarce resources in a disaster.
All disasters are local, but regional support is critical in burn disaster planning. On a day-to-day basis, burn bed capacity can be problematic. A review of the literature and our experiences, including mathematical modeling and real events, reaffirm how rapidly we can overwhelm our resources.
This review includes the Southern Burn Plan, created by the burn centers of the American Burn Association’s Southern Region, should there be a need for additional hospital burn beds (capacity) and burn care (capability) in response to a disaster. This article also explores planning and preparedness developments and describes options to improve our efforts, including training and education.
It is incumbent upon everyone in the healthcare profession to become comfortable managing burn-injured patients until the patients can be moved to a burn center. Understanding the regional capacity, capability, and when a surge of patients may require the practice of altered standards of care is essential for those involved in medical disaster preparedness.
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