Committee on Trauma and Emergency Preparedness - American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA)

Committee on Trauma and Emergency Preparedness

The ASA Committee on Trauma and Emergency Preparedness has collaborated to identify a number of useful references for anesthesiologists. In addition, it has created other useful products for anesthesiologists responsible for emergency preparedness from both a professional and personal perspective. Please contact the committee chair with any suggestions for additional products that could be useful in the areas of trauma management and emergency preparedness.

Trauma Information

Emergency Preparedness




Featured resource: O.R. Mass Casualty Checklist
A step-by-step checklist was developed by COTEP to assist anesthesiologists and operating room personnel in preparing for a mass casualty situation.
Download the checklist. 

Mission Statement
The ASA Committee on Trauma and Emergency Preparedness exists to improve the care of patients with traumatic injury and to educate anesthesiologists in disaster management.

After 9/11, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) established its Committee on Trauma and Emergency Preparedness (COTEP). Though the terrorist attacks of 2001 have not been repeated, heretofore simple everyday names such as Katrina, Ike, and Sandy now invoke images of devastation. From the tornadoes that struck the southeastern United States and Joplin, MO, in 2011 to the earthquakes that wreaked havoc in Haiti and Japan, numerous natural disasters have underscored the foresight that the ASA showed in preparing its members to respond during emergencies. Thanks to the anesthesiologists who have shared their individual experiences during these disasters with COTEP, we have collectively gained great insight into preparing for future events and the roles of anesthesiologists in mass-casualty situations.

While not every anesthesiologist will be directly involved in patient care during a mass disaster, most anesthesiologists will care for trauma patients in their emergency department, operating room, ICU and pain clinic – whether you work in a trauma center or not – at some time during the patient’s acute resuscitation or chronic follow-up. Trauma is the leading cause of death for individuals up to the age of 45 years and the third leading cause of death in the United States. Anesthesiologists who manage trauma must be prepared to emergently care for a patient with any form and severity of injury, have an unknown or sub-optimally managed pre-existing condition, and may require any kind of operation regardless of the time of day, even when resources are not readily available. Anesthesiologists must have a broad, evidence-based knowledge of their specialty as well as trauma surgery in order to understand the nuances of traumatic injury management, the unique pathophysiological processes observed in trauma, and the pharmacological modifications that may be necessary to provide anesthesia quickly, efficiently, and effectively. Anesthesiologists offer a unique expertise and skill set that is significantly different from those offered by other medical specialties that care for trauma patients.

COTEP is committed to providing a user-friendly website that will help you, your family, and your practice prepare for any trauma or emergency. In addition, this site provides accurate and timely information, practice guidelines and useful links for managing casualties from trauma, natural disasters, fires, industrial injuries, and weapons of mass destruction. In ANY emergency, if you can access the Internet, we will be here to help.

These committee work products/resources have not been approved by ASA’s Board of Directors or House of Delegates and do not represent an ASA Policy, Statement or Guideline.

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