OBJECTIVE: Emergency Medicine being a young specialty in India, we aimed to assess the level of disaster preparedness and planning strategies among various academic Emergency Departments (EDs) across India during the COVID-19 pandemic .
METHODS: A cross-sectional multicentric survey was developed and disseminated online to various academic EDs in India and followed up over a period of 8 weeks . All results were analysed using descriptive statistics .
RESULTS: 28 Academic Emergency Medicine Departments responded to the study . Compared to Pre-COVID period, COVID-19 pandemic has led to 90% of centres developing separate triage system with dedicated care areas for COVID suspect/infected in 78.6% centres with nearly 70% utilizing separate transportation pathways . Strategizing and executing the Institutional COVID-19 treatment protocol in 80% institutes were done by Emergency Physicians . Training exercises for airway management and PPE usage were seen in 93% and 80% centres respectively . Marked variation in recommended PPE usage were observed across EDs in India .
CONCLUSIONS: Our study highlights the high variance in the level of preparedness response among various EDs across India during the pandemic . Preparedness for different EDs across India needs to be individually assessed and planned according to the needs and resources available.
Index: COVID-19 pandemic, Disaster preparedness, Emergency Departments