Journal of Defense Studies and Resource Management ISSN: 2324-9315

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The Role of Bystanders in Mass Casualty Events: Lessons from the 2010 Haiti Earthquake

The Role of Bystanders in Mass Casualty Events: Lessons from the 2010 Haiti Earthquake

In routine emergencies, official emergency organizations bear the responsibility to manage the event and treat the wounded. The principal role for bystanders is to alert the appropriate emergency organizations. In mass casualty events (MCE), bystanders are the first responders. Research conducted among rescues in the immediate aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake indicates that bystanders can be an effective complement to professional rescue forces and a necessary substitute when professionals lack sufficient surge capacity. Policy makers and planners may be able to save lives and elevate resilience by sharing emergency preparedness responsibility with the general public.

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