Enabling Factors, Hindrances, and Self-perceived Level of Preparedness of Typhoon Haiyan Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Responders

  • Hilton Y. Lam
  • Carlos Primero D. Gundran
  • Jaifred Christian F. Lopez
  • Emelia B. Santamaria
  • Anna Cristina A. Tuazon
  • Lotgarda Tayao
Keywords: disaster risk reduction and management, disasters, emergency medical services, Typhoon Haiyan


Background. Despite the implementation of policies related to disaster risk reduction and management in the Philippines, the response after Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013 was hampered by operational challenges.

Objective. The purpose of this study was to document disaster response experiences of Typhoon Haiyan from field level emergency medical service (EMS) responders, a key component of the disaster response, specifically the enabling factors and hindrances to disaster medical response activities, including their self-perceived level of preparedness in these activities.

Methods. In this mixed-methods study, 52 respondents identified enabling factors and hindrances to their disaster response and their corresponding self-perceived level of preparedness. In a subsequent focus group discussion, the researchers used the nominal group technique to process the respondents’ experiences.

Results. The respondents identified factors that enabled or hindered their response activities such as coordination, stress debriefing, infrastructure, and preparedness. Furthermore, an average of 33% of the respondents said they were adequately prepared to deliver the necessary medical services during the disaster response, thus validating previous studies on preparedness and disaster response operations.

Conclusion. The government should critically examine its cluster approach to disaster response and consider an integrated, inclusive, and proactive approach in disaster planning.


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