Hospital Preparedness for Weapons of Mass Destruction Incidents: An Initial Assessment

Tzong-luen Wang, Huei-Tsair Chen, Hang Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To elucidate hospital preparedness for weapons of mass destruction (WMD), we performed an initial assessment in the emergency response hospitals in Taipei. Interviews of hospital personnel were performed in 10 hospitals. Data collected included level of preparedness, mass decontamination capabilities, training of hospital staff, and facility security capabilities. No respondents believed their sites were fully prepared to handle a biologic incident, 70% (7/10) believed they were not prepared to manage a chemical weapons incident, and 80% believed they were unprepared for a radio-nuclear incident. Were a WMD incident to occur, 50% of respondents stated a single-room decontamination process would be set up. WMD preparedness had been incorporated into hospital response plans by 40% (4/10) of the institutions. Fifty percent (5/10) believed their emergency department could manage 20 to 50 casualties at once. No facility had stockpiled any medications for WMD treatment. All facilities had established networks of communication. No hospital has
prepared media statements specific to WMD. Thirty percent (3/10) stated that their hospital staff had some training in WMD event management. All reported need for WMD-specific training but
identified obstacles to achieving this. Sixty percent (6/10) of hospitals had a facility security plan, and 20% were able to perform a so-called isolation plan. None had awareness regarding the threat of a secondary device. Hospitals in this sample do not appear to be prepared to handle WMD events, especially in areas such as mass decontamination, mass medical response, and awareness among health care professionals, health communications, and facility security.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-79
JournalAnnals of Disaster Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • WMD
  • Disaster
  • Response
  • Preparedness


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