Although emergency room physicians have the special qualifications and training needed to respond to a disaster such as Hurricane Katrina, if they come to a disaster site—as they did after Katrina—without being part of an official team of federal volunteers, they cannot be mobilized.
The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) prepared a video—"Responding to Disaster"—to offer lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina, to inform doctors of the team approach to disasters and to encourage them to volunteer for federally trained disaster response teams.
ACEP, with 23,000 practicing emergency physicians and residents, is the largest specialty society for emergency physicians.
Key Results: ACEP subcontracted with E-6 Enterprises (Dallas, Texas) to produce the video. The 16-minute video was shot in Dallas and College Station, Texas, and in New Orleans.
The video, "Responding to Disaster":
- Describes the activities of disaster response teams, explains how the teams work and encourages emergency physicians to volunteer for them.
- The video is available online.
- CD-ROM copies of the video were distributed to some 130 emergency medicine residency programs throughout the nation, with a potential audience of 5,000 emergency medicine residents.
- The video was shown at a panel discussion dealing with the response to Hurricane Katrina at Scientific Assembly held in New Orleans on October 15–18, 2006.
- ACEP distributed more than 300 copies of the video at its scientific assembly and at four national disaster preparedness meetings.
- Through February 2007, the video has been viewed online 478 times on the ACEP website.
Challenge: The challenge in producing the video was that key federal government officials were not available for interviews.