News & Events

A letter from Mass General's Vice Chairman for Emergency Preparedness, Paul Biddinger, MD.

Assuring preparedness during the holiday season


The recent incidents in Beirut, Paris, and Mali have obviously prompted many security and emergency preparedness personnel around the world and here at home to review their preparedness for mass casualty and security incidents. Further, because the holiday season is now upon us, there is an increased number of travelers and of large, public gatherings that could pose opportunities for individuals desiring to cause harm.

While it is very important to stress that MGH is not aware of any serious or credible threats in Massachusetts at this time, the Emergency Department and Hospital Leadership strongly encourage all MGH ED Employees to take necessary steps to assure preparedness in the event of a violent incident this season. Specifically, we recommend that you:

•         Remember to report anything unusual, uncomfortable, or suspicious to hospital security

•         Ensure that you are comfortable with your role in the MGH ED during a disaster and specifically within the Mass Casualty Protocol.  While most ED staff will be asked to act in their normal roles in a disaster, the MGH ED leadership physically present in the ED will be enhanced when the Emergency Operations Plan has been activated, and will use Incident Command System (ICS) titles.  During a Disaster, the following additional ICS positions will be appointed by the ED Acute Attending MD, the ED Resource Nurse, and the Charge Coordinator:

• ED Director/Incident Commander
• Triage Unit Leader
• Critical Care Unit Leader
• Urgent Unit Leader
• Minor Unit Leader

If you have any questions about the protocol, or about your role in a disaster, I would ask you to reach out to your manager/supervisor.

I know the outstanding professional work you do each day to ensure the safety of our patients, visitors, and staff and to ensure we are poised to support victims and protect the community when called upon.  I would like to thank you for these efforts, and for your vigilance and readiness to respond. Please do not hesitate to reach out if I can be of any assistance.

Thank you.

Paul Biddinger MD FACEP FAAEM
Vice Chairman for Emergency Preparedness