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Many opportunities are available for both student nurses and experienced
community health nurses to become involved in emergency preparedness and
response efforts. A disaster is any event that causes a level of destruction that
exceeds the abilities of the affected community to respond without assistance.
Disasters may be caused by natural or man-made/technologic events and may be
classified as multiple-casualty incidents or mass-casualty incidents. Student nurses
are developing a plan on how to approach the upcoming community-wide disaster
1. What characteristics of disasters, including causation, number of casualties,
scope, and intensity, should the student nurses consider?
2. What factors contribute to a community’s potential for experiencing a
3. What are the four phases of disaster management that must be included in
the student nurses planning for the drill?
4. Using the levels of prevention, what is the role of the community health
nurse in relations to acts of chemical, biologic, or nuclear terrorism?