The 9/11 attacks reframed the narrative regarding disaster medicine. Bypass strategies have been replaced with absorption strategies and are more specifically described as “surge capacity.” In the succeeding years, a consensus has coalesced around stratifying the surge capacity into three distinct tiers: conventional, contingency, and crisis surge capacities. For the purpose of this work, these three distinct tiers were adapted specifically to burn surge for disaster planning activities at hospitals where burn centers are not located. A review was conducted involving published plans, other related academic works, and findings from actual disasters as well as modeling. The aim was to create burn-specific definitions for surge capacity for hospitals where a burn center is not located. The three-tier consensus description of surge capacity is delineated in their respective stratifications by what will hereinafter be referred to as the three “S’s”; staff, space, and supplies (also referred to as supplies, pharmaceuticals, and equipment). This effort also included the creation of a checklist for nonburn center hospitals to assist in their development of a burn surge plan. Patients with serious burn injuries should always be moved to and managed at burn centers, but during a medical disaster with significant numbers of burn injured patients, there may be impediments to meeting this goal. It may be necessary for burn injured patients to remain for hours in an outlying hospital until being moved to a burn center. This work was aimed at aiding local and regional hospitals in developing an extemporizing measure until their burn injured patients can be moved to and managed at a burn center(s).
From *Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; and Departments of †General Surgery and ‡Emergency Medicine, School of Medicine, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
This work was supported in part by the US DHHS/ASPR Hospital Preparedness Program Grant CDC-RFA-TP12-1201 through the North Carolina Office of Emergency Medical Services Contract 00027162. We also acknowledge the support of our educational programs through FEMA Grant EMW-2011-FP-01131.
Address correspondence to Randy D. Kearns, DHA MSA CEM, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.