Preparedness of German paramedics and emergency physicians for a mass casualty incident: A national survey

Philipp Fischer*, Karoush Kabir, Oliver Weber, Dieter C. Wirtz, Hermann Bail, Steffen Ruchholtz, Mickey Stein, Christof Burger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objective: Paramedics and physicians are important components of our emergency medical system. To date, no survey has been carried out assessing physicians and paramedics regarding their preparedness for a mass casualty incident (MCI) resulting from a terrorist attack in Germany. The aim of this study was to assess the current state of preparedness of emergency physicians and paramedics for an MCI. Materials and Methods: Using an online questionnaire, we interviewed 1,707 emergency physicians and paramedics in Germany. The replies were analyzed statistically with the one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) test and the Tukey-Kramer multiple comparisons test. Results: In all, 95% of the emergency physicians and paramedics knew their area of responsibility in the case of an MCI. However, 45% of them were unaware of injury patterns and treatment strategies in patients following nuclear, chemical or biological contamination. Of the interviewed emergency physicians and paramedics, 97% asked for further specific training for MCI/terrorism attacks. Conclusions: Emergency physicians and paramedics are still insufficiently prepared for nuclear, chemical, and biological as well as conventional terrorism attacks. The emergency training of emergency physicians and paramedics must be modified to accommodate the increased risk of catastrophes and terrorist attacks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-450
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Emergency training
  • Mass casualty incident
  • Paramedics
  • Physicians
  • Preparedness


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