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HCCs Help Utah Prepare for Burn Mass Casualty Incidents

Value of Locally-led Preparedness Efforts

When ASPR’s Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) introduced health care coalitions (HCC), the Utah Department of Health shifted its focus to provide statewide resources through a locally-driven approach. For example, the Department reduced its number of statewide trainings, and instead provided more funding to the regional coalitions for personnel, training, exercises, and equipment.

For events that still require statewide coordination, such as the Burn Care and Mass Casualty Course (BCMCC), the Department of Health, in partnership with the University of Utah Health Burn Center, works with the HCC coordinator to identify a reasonable scenario based on local threats and hazards, and uses local facilities to host the courses. Bringing training to the local level helps reinforce the value of the coalition among partners. It also provides an opportunity to introduce the coalition members to other partners in the community, develop a shared understanding of the response role of the coalition, and communicate how the coalition supports their local communities.

The Critical Role of HCCs in a Burn Mass Casualty Incident


  • Organize community and relevant partners, including burn centers
  • Prepare hospitals to receive, stabilize, and manage burn patients
  • Equip caches and resources with burn materials
  • Train and build skills for all HCC members
  • Exercise to test plans and response


  • Develop situational awareness of health/medical
  • Share information between members
  • Acquire and manage resources
  • Promote mutual aid between local members
  • Function as a health care liaison to local jurisdictions
  • Serve as the eyes and ears for state/federal asset deployment

BCMCC Across Utah

Existing partnerships improve disaster response, and inter-professional collaboration is essential to saving lives in emergencies and disasters. With this in mind, the University of Utah Health Burn Center, in partnership with the Utah Department of Health, collaborated with HCC leaders to improve first responder and first receiver readiness for a burn mass casualty incident. They created the BCMCC based on established guidelines for acute burn care and crisis standards of care to prepare the state for an emergency requiring burn care, a critical area of specialty care.

The BCMCC course has two tracks, one for emergency medical services (EMS) and one for health care. The BCMCC has been delivered to 236 participants across all seven Utah regions. Participants included physicians (5%), nurses (30%), EMS providers (43%), private sector response teams, outpatient clinicians, health department, and safety/security personnel.

Burn Mass Casualty Training and Exercises

The Department of Health, in partnership with the University of Utah Health Burn Center, has also hosted a BCMCC Summit, trained >30,000 professionals since 2012, and conducted over 20 burn care exercises over the past eight years. These include 13 tabletop exercises, eight full scale exercises (e.g., Air Show exercises involving county and military participants), and exercises with the Radiation Injury Treatment Network receiving center at the airport.