Epidemiology of major incidents: An EMS study from Pakistan

Hunniya Waseem, Luca Carenzo, Junaid Razzak, Rizwan Naseer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: A major incident is defined as an event that owing to the number of casualties has the potential to overwhelm the available resources. This paper attempts to describe the incidence and epidemiology of major incidents dealt with by a government-run emergency medical service (EMS) in the Punjab province of Pakistan, a developing country in South Asia. A major incident in this EMS is defined as any incident that produces three or more patients, or any incident in which extraordinary resources are needed. Methods: All the calls received by an EMS Rescue 1122 were studied over a 6-month period. Calls that were defined as major incidents were identified, and further details were sought from the districts regarding these incidents. Questions specifically asked were the type of incident, time of the incident, response time for the incident, the resources needed, and the number of dead and injured casualties. Retrospective data were collected from the submitted written reports. Results: Road traffic c ashes (RTCs) emerged as the leading cause of a major incident in the province of Punjab and also led to the greatest number of casualties, followed by fire incidents. The total number of casualties was 3,380, out of which 73.7% were RTC victims. There was a high rate of death on the scene (10.4%). Certain other causes of major incidents also emerged, including violence, gas explosions and drowning. Conclusion: Road traffic crashes are the most common cause of a major incident in developing countries such as Pakistan. Injury prevention initiatives need to focus on RTCs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number48
JournalInternational Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


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