- Most patients arrive at the hospital within 1.5 hours of the disaster, many with only minor injuries. Arrival of these patients most often is uncoordinated (that is, they may arrive on foot, or by car, bus, ambulance or personal vehicles, and usually not in any order of injury severity). Patients usually go to the closest hospital, regardless of the level of emergency care capability, and will overwhelm one hospital, leaving other hospitals with very few disaster casualties. The medical care component of the disaster usually is over in a few hours, well before the arrival of state or federal resources. As a result, local communities need to be self-sufficient in any type of disaster.
- Disasters disrupt the “normal” delivery of healthcare to the population by adding a large burden of acute injuries and illnesses. While the disaster response occurs, the medical needs of the general population do not diminish. In fact, the stress of the disaster combined with the dangers posed to citizens involved in the rescue only serves to exacerbate the situation.