Disaster Reanimatology Potentials: A Structured Interview Study in Armenia. III. Results, Conclusions, and Recommendations

Ernesto A. Pretto, Edmund Ricci, Miroslav Klain, Peter Safar, Victor Semenov, Joel Abrams, Samuel Tisherman, David Crippen, Louise Comfort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


National medical responses to catastrophic disasters have failed to incorporate a resuscitation component. Purpose: This study sought to determine the lifesaving potentials of modern resuscitation medicine as applied to a catastrophic disaster situation. Previous articles reported the preliminary results (I), and methodology (II) of a structured, retrospective interview study of the 1988 earthquake in Armenia. The present article (III) reports and discusses the definitive findings, formulates conclusions, and puts forth recommendations for future responses to catastrophic disasters anywhere in the world. Results: Observations include: 1) The lack of adequate construction materials and procedures in the Armenian region contributed significantly to injury and loss of life; 2) The uninjured, lay population together with medical teams including physicians in Armenia were capable of rapid response (within two hours); 3) Due to a lack of Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) training for medical teams and of basic first-aid training of the lay public, and scarcity of supplies and equipment for extrication of casualties, they were unable to do much at the scene. As a result, an undetermined number of severely injured earthquake victims in Armenia died slowly without the benefit of appropriate and feasible resuscitation attempts. Recommendations: 1) Widespread adoption of seismic-resistant building codes for regions of high seismic risk; 2) The lay public living in these regions should be trained in life-supporting first-aid (LSFA) and basic rescue techniques; 3) Community-wide emergency medical services (EMS) systems should be developed world-wild (tailored to the emergency needs of each region) with ATLS capability for field resuscitation; 4) Such systems be prepared to extend coverage to mass casualties; 5) National disaster medical system (NDMS) plans should provide integation of existing trauma-EMS systems into regional systems linked with advanced (heavy) rescue (public works, fire, police); and 6) New techniques and devices for victim extrication should be developed to enable rapid extrication of earthquake casualties within 24 hours.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-337
Number of pages11
JournalPrehospital and Disaster Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • disaster management
  • disaster medicine
  • disaster response
  • earthquake
  • emergency medical response
  • emergency medical services (EMS)
  • first aid
  • resuscitation
  • search and rescue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency


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