Journal of Emergencies, Trauma, and Shock
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LETTERS TO EDITOR  
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 71-72
Questions regarding the initial request for the dispatch of disaster medical assistance teams for a landslide after torrential rain at Izuyama in Atami, Japan


Department of Acute Critical Care Medicine, Shizuoka Hospital, Juntendo University, Tokyo, Japan

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Date of Submission16-Sep-2021
Date of Acceptance30-Sep-2021
Date of Web Publication4-Apr-2022
 

How to cite this article:
Yanagawa Y, Jitsuiki K, Nagasawa H, Ohsaka H, Ishikawa K. Questions regarding the initial request for the dispatch of disaster medical assistance teams for a landslide after torrential rain at Izuyama in Atami, Japan. J Emerg Trauma Shock 2022;15:71-2

How to cite this URL:
Yanagawa Y, Jitsuiki K, Nagasawa H, Ohsaka H, Ishikawa K. Questions regarding the initial request for the dispatch of disaster medical assistance teams for a landslide after torrential rain at Izuyama in Atami, Japan. J Emerg Trauma Shock [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Jul 6];15:71-2. Available from: https://www.onlinejets.org/text.asp?2022/15/1/71/342507




Sir,

From June 30 to July3, 2021, Atami City of Eastern Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, was hit with torrential rain. During this 4-day period, 389 mm of rainfall was observed. This was equivalent to 1.6 times the average precipitation in July. At around 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 3, 2021, a landslide flow suddenly occurred at Izuyama in Atami (GLIDE#: LS-2021-000075-JPN). The landslides ran a distance of approximately 2 km to the sea, destroying 131 houses [Figure 1]a. As of September 21, 2021, a total of 25 people had died and 1 person was missing due to the landslides. Firefighters of Atami Fire Department, which undertook search and rescue operations near the landslide, also narrowly escape from an additional landslide. Atami fire department requested that the Shizuoka prefectural government dispatches the Shizuoka Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs).[1],[2] After receiving this request, the Government of Shizuoka Prefecture decided to request the dispatch of Shizuoka DMATs from five disaster hospitals in Eastern Shizuoka, including our hospital, at around 15:00 p.m. on July 3, 2021. At that time, the Meteorological Agency's landslide disaster caution was still in effect for the whole of Eastern Shizuoka, and it was recommended that people take actions to protect their own lives [Figure 1]b. Accordingly, our hospital refused to dispatch the DMAT. On July 4, 2021, the rain became light and the landslide disaster caution was lowered by one level. Our hospital decided to dispatch the DMAT to assist in the management of the headquarters after confirming the safety of the mountainous routes to Atami City.
Figure 1: A landslide flow suddenly occurred at Izuyama in Atami City (a, upper) and the landslide disaster caution announced by the Meteorological Agency (b, lower). The landslides destroyed 131 houses. The Meteorological Agency announced at the landslide disaster caution that covered the whole of Eastern Shizuoka and recommended that people take actions to protect their own lives (the purple area is the most dangerous). Our hospital (white arrow) was close to a mountain, and the mountainous routes from our hospital to Atami City (black arrow) were at risk from landslides

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In the disaster setting, securing the safety of medical relief staff is an important issue. In education for DMAT training, learning to secure one's own safety is one of the most important matters. DMATs are taught that their threshold of safety should be the same as that of a general citizen. If dispatch to a disaster scene is thought to be dangerous, the requested dispatch may be refused based on the decision of the DMAT staff. A request for the dispatch of a DMAT is only request and is not an order. Although the threshold of safety of first responders in disaster situations, such as firefighters or police officers, is thought to be lower in comparison to DMATs, because their mission is to save the life of citizens at the risk of their own life, most first responders are not aware of this principle. In addition, local government staff have little experience in providing medical relief in disaster settings. Furthermore, this was the first time that the Shizuoka DMAT was dispatched to an actual local disaster in Shizuoka Prefecture. Accordingly, departments related to the provision of medical relief in disaster settings in Shizuoka Prefecture later held a meeting to discuss how to appropriately request a dispatch. They confirmed that the threshold of safety of DMAT staff should be the same as a general citizen.

Acknowledgment

This work was supported in part by a Grant-in-Aid for Special Research in Subsidies for ordinary expenses of private schools from The Promotion and Mutual Aid Corporation for Private Schools of Japan.

Research quality and ethics statement

The authors followed applicable EQUATOR Network (http://www.equator-network.org/) guidelines, notably the CARE guideline, during the conduct of this report.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
Kondo H, Koido Y, Morino K, Homma M, Otomo Y, Yamamoto Y, et al. Establishing disaster medical assistance teams in Japan. Prehosp Disaster Med 2009;24:556-64.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Yanagawa Y, Jitsuiki K. The Introduction of an education and training course for recruiting members for a local Disaster Medical Assistance Team in Shizuoka prefecture in 2017. Sch J App Med Sci 2017;5:4151-4.  Back to cited text no. 2
    

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Correspondence Address:
Dr. Youichi Yanagawa
Department of Acute Critical Care Medicine, Shizuoka Hospital, Juntendo University, Tokyo
Japan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jets.jets_123_21

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