Document Detail

Assessment of major and minor events that occurred in Italy during the last century using a Disaster Severity Scale score.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  16295168     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
INTRODUCTION: Epidemiological research about disasters is difficult to perform. Most often, it must be completed retrospectively, since data collection may not be feasible or possible during the disaster. Now, there is a recognized need for a standard method to assess the severity of a disaster.
OBJECTIVES: The aim of this paper is to assess the severity of the disasters that occurred in Italy during the 20th century, using a Disaster Severity Scale (DSS). Another goal is to find a standard method for the classification of previous disasters, test the feasibility and reliability of the use of the DSS, and improve disaster management and planning.
METHODS: Data were obtained from formal reports of the Civil Defence Unit (Italy) and were used to calculate the DSS score. Disasters were classified into major and minor disasters, according to the numbers of deaths and severity of the damage. The number of deaths was compared with the obtained DSS score. A seasonal trend for different types of events was obtained to assess if there is a relationship between the type of event and the time of the year in which it occurred, as related to the weather conditions existing at that time.
RESULTS: There were enough data to calculate a DSS score for 26 major events that caused death and economic damage, and occurred in Italy between 18 March 1944 and 11 November 1999, and for 82 minor events, that occurred between October 1982 and December 1999. There were some significant peaks varying from different types of events during particular seasons, but the cause for those with the highest incidence is not clear. Events related to natural hazards were the only type of event that reached the highest DSS when considering the number of deaths, while no events associated with man-made hazards had a DSS score >8.
CONCLUSION: The DSS score could be a reliable index for the assessment of events related to either natural or man-made disasters. Use of the DSS allows researchers to classify previous hazards by scoring each disaster's severity. Further studies in other countries could be useful to further validate the DSS.
Giorgia Ferro
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Prehospital and disaster medicine     Volume:  20     ISSN:  1049-023X     ISO Abbreviation:  Prehosp Disaster Med     Publication Date:    2005 Sep-Oct
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2005-11-18     Completed Date:  2006-02-09     Revised Date:  2011-12-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8918173     Medline TA:  Prehosp Disaster Med     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  316-23     Citation Subset:  T    
Department of Anesthetics and Intensive Care, Critical Care Unit, Policlinico A. Gemelli University Hospital, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy.
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MeSH Terms
Disasters / classification*,  statistics & numerical data*
Injury Severity Score
Italy / epidemiology
Rescue Work / statistics & numerical data
Retrospective Studies
Survival Analysis
Wounds and Injuries / classification,  epidemiology

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