J Korean Soc Emerg Med.  2018 Apr;29(2):188-196. 10.0000/jksem.2018.29.2.188.

Characteristics of mass casualty chemical incidents: a case series

  • 1Laboratory of Emergency Medical Services, Seoul National University Hospital Biomedical Research Institute, Seoul, Korea. timthe@gmail.com
  • 2Department of Emergency Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, Korea.
  • 3Department of Emergency Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
  • 4Department of Emergency Medicine, Hallym University Dongtan Sacred Heart Hospital, Hwaseong, Korea.
  • 5Department of Emergency Medicine, SMG-SNU Boramae Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.
  • 6Department of Emergency Medicine, Jeju National University Hospital, Jeju, Korea.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the characteristics of the emergency medical services (EMS) response and clinical information on mass casualty chemical incidents in Korea.
This retrospective observational study analyzed the integrated data of the EMS rescue records and EMS-treated severe trauma registry from January 2012 to December 2013. Two databases were integrated using the unique accident identification number. Chemical incidents were defined by an in-depth review of the EMS rescue records according to a previous study. Mass casualty incidents were defined as more than 6 injured individuals. The rescue, EMS, and hospital variables of mass casualty chemical incidents were analyzed.
A total of 8 mass casualty chemical incidents and 73 patients were included. The mean responded rescue vehicles and EMS vehicles were 2.4 and 3.5, respectively. The 4 incidents were an oil spill due to traffic accidents and most patients suffered minor trauma. A carbon monoxide leak caused the largest number of patients (23 people). The explosion caused by flammable polyethylene leaks showed the highest severity. In that explosion, the mortality rate was 40% and 8 patients had a disability at discharge.
This study evaluated the characteristics of the EMS response and clinical information on mass casualty chemical incidents in Korea.


Chemical hazard release; Mass casualty incidents; Emergency medical services
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