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Disaster Management and Emergency Preparedness

The Disaster Management and Emergency Preparedness (DMEP) course teaches planning methods, preparedness, and medical management of trauma patients in mass casualty disaster situations. Through lecture and interactive scenarios, health care providers learn incident command terminology, principals of disaster triage, injury patterns, and availability of assets for support during the one-day program.

The American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma (ACS COT) recognizes that a mass casualty event is not just another busy night in an urban trauma center. Most surgeons have little or no background or experience in such circumstances. To fill this gap, the Committee on Trauma has developed this course to help surgeons and “acute care pros” develop the necessary skills, understand the language, and appreciate the structural transformation for effective response to mass casualties in disasters. This program is designed to stimulate thinking about how to become better prepared as individuals, professionals, organizations, and health care systems. It represents a milestone on the path toward readiness, not a destination, and should lead to more clinical involvement in local disaster planning. As surgeons, we must be ever vigilant and ready for not just the isolated surgical emergency that may beset the critically ill or injured, but also for the masses requiring the special skills outlined in this course. For more course information, contact the Trauma Education Program office at 312-202-5538 or e-mail

Order DMEP manual (2nd Edition)

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Program Overview

Course Description

DMEP is a one-day course that is both didactic and interactive. It addresses core competencies as outlined by the ACS COT Disaster and Mass Casualty Management Committee. Major topics addressed include planning, triage, incident command, injury patterns and pathophysiology, and consideration for special populations. Small group discussions are based on illustrative scenarios. The course requires a pre- and posttest, which are reviewed on-site. A comprehensive syllabus and supportive CD with resource material is provided.

Target Audience

The intended audience includes acute care providers (i.e., surgeons; anesthesiologists; emergency medicine physicians; emergency room, operating room, intensive care unit, and trauma nurses; and prehospital professionals) who will most likely be the first receivers of casualties following major disasters. Other health care providers, administrators, public health personnel, and emergency managers are also encouraged to attend.


  • Understand the surgical problems, injury patterns, and issues that may result from disasters
  • Discuss the role that surgeons can play in planning for and responding to mass casualty incidents and disasters, especially at a hospital level
  • Become familiar with the terms and concepts of incident command
  • Understand the principles and challenges of disaster triage
  • Become familiar with treatment principles related to blast injury, chemical attacks, and radiological dispersal devices
  • Know the civilian and military assets available for support

Core Competencies

  • Epidemiology and history of disasters
  • Disaster planning
  • Disaster response organization and execution
  • Medical management of mass casualties
  • Pathophysiology and patterns of injury
  • Postdisaster assessment and recovery
  • Pitfalls and barriers in disaster planning and response
  • Understanding the needs of special populations (i.e., pediatric, geriatric, disabled)


The American College of Surgeons is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

CME Credit

The American College of Surgeons designates this live activity for a maximum of 7.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.


For the purposes of recertification, the American Nurses Credentialing Center accepts AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ issued by organizations accredited by the ACCME.