Burns disasters - a plan for South Africa
Acts of terrorism have highlighted the need for national disaster plans in all countries. The Australian Burns Disaster Plan (Ausburnplan), for instance, was drawn up in the aftermath of the Bali catastrophe. Analysis of major terrorist attacks has revealed that up to 15% of the total live casualties sustained severe burn injuries; but the arrival of even 10 new major burns would overwhelm most burns units in South Africa.
The International Society for Burns Injuries (ISBI) guidelines for the management of large numbers of burns casualties recommend that ‘each country has or should have a disaster planning system that addresses its own particular needs.’ The essential elements of any disaster plan are descriptions of how medical facilities should provide appropriate treatment, and how to ensure access to such facilities. The South African Burns Society (SABS) should assist in evaluating these facilities, help to maintain standards, and formulate and implement provincial and national burns disaster plans.
A D Rogers, Division of Plastic Surgery, UCT and Groote Schuur Hospital
C E Price,
L A Wallis,
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Date published: 2011-01-06
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