Mass Casualty Incident: Definitions and Current Reality
A Mass Casualty Incident (MCI) is an overwhelming event, which generates more patients at a time than locally available resources can manage using routine procedures. It requires exceptional emergency arrangements and additional or extraordinary assistance. MCIs can occur as a consequence of a wide variety of events: disasters (both natural and man-made), terrorist attacks, motor vehicle collisions, etc. Whatever the causing event is, the characterizing feature of an MCI is the number of victims large enough to disrupt the normal functioning of health care services. MCIs can be classified into different levels, according to either the number of potential victims or the entity of the response—in terms of resources—required to face them. This classification is a useful tool when redacting an MCI management plan. In fact, preparedness is the key to success in these situations; it implies consciousness that risk and vulnerability exist, and awareness by both government and local community of the benefit to plan and to have appropriate legislation. An optimal MCI/disaster management plan should consider all four phases of the so-called disaster cycle: mitigation, planning, response, and recovery.
KeywordsMass casualty incident MCI management plan Disasters Disaster cycle Incident command system
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