On September 8, 2023, a devastating earthquake of magnitude 7.4 struck Morocco. A disaster of this scale can leave the affected population with severe medical issues, both physical and mental. For the victims of this disaster, the path ahead is uncertain, and the trauma can be overwhelming. However, it is still possible to survive even after such a catastrophic event. In this blog, we will discuss post-event survival tips that can help medical professionals provide aid and support to the affected population.
Medical Skill Set Immediately Following the Disaster:
If, like me, you intend to respond to a disaster in your community, you may be faced with a mass casualty situation where triage and lifesaving treatment are done in the field. If true, consider training in a course such as Remote Medicine for the Advanced Provider, Tactical Emergency Casualty Care, Advanced Trauma Life Support, Wilderness Life Support – Medical Professional, etc. This knowledge base will be valuable when providing timely critical care post-disaster events.
Post Event - Mental Health Care:
Earthquakes can cause severe mental distress, which is oftentimes overlooked. Trauma, such as loss of life, physical injury, displacement, and destruction of property, all contribute to mental health issues. Medical staff should be trained to recognize and respond to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. Support and counseling should be available to all victims to help them overcome the trauma that they have gone through.
Post Event - Infection Control:
Injuries or wounds sustained during an earthquake can lead to infections in the absence of adequate care. It is vital to provide appropriate wound care and to follow the correct protocols for infection control. Measures such as proper sanitation, hand hygiene, and the use of personal protective equipment should be strictly enforced. This will help prevent the spread of disease in areas where large groups of people are gathered.
Post Event - Water and Food Supply:
An earthquake can disrupt the water and food supply of an affected area. This can lead to an increase in diarrheal diseases and malnutrition (from contaminated food and water). Medical personnel should be trained to screen and respond to dehydration, waterborne diseases, and malnutrition. It is essential to maintain a supply of clean water, ready-to-eat food, and nutritional supplements to prevent the occurrence of these dangers.
In conclusion, the aftermath of an earthquake can be devastating, both physically and mentally. Medical personnel can play a crucial role in post-event survival by providing triage and on-scene critical care, mental health care, infection control, and water and food supply management. Preparation and effective response can save countless lives and ease the pain experienced by the victims of this catastrophic event. Proper prior preparation is key, and it starts with you and how well your community is prepared, trained, and organized. Let us stand prepared for such disasters and work together to ensure a smooth recovery for the affected communities. Hopefully, this blog inspires you to learn more on this topic and prepare self and community should an event occur in your backyard. For more information on survival concepts, check out Greg Davenport’s Wilderness Survival, Second Edition book sold on amazon.com.