Assessment of the Capacity and Capability of Burn Centers to Respond to Burn Disasters in Belgium: A Mixed-Method Study

J Burn Care Res. 2019 Oct 16;40(6):869-877. doi: 10.1093/jbcr/irz105.


Burn disaster is defined as a massive influx of patients that exceeds a burn center's capacity and capability. This study investigates the capacity and capability of burn centers to respond to burn disasters in the Belgian ground. Quantitative survey and qualitative semistructured interview questionnaires were administered directly to key informants of burn centers. The data collected from both methods were compared to get a more in-depth overview of the issue. Quantitative data were converted into a narrative to enrich the qualitative data and included in the thematic analysis. Finally, data from both methods were analyzed and organized into five themes. The Belgian Association of Burn Injury (BABI) has a specific prehospital plan for burn disaster management. Once the BABI Plan is activated, all burn centers respond as one entity. Burn Team (B-Team) is a professional team that is formed in case of urgent need and it is deployed to a scene or to nonburn specialized hospitals to help in disaster relief. The challenges for burn disasters response occur particularly in the area of triage, transfer, communication, funding, and training. We conclude that there is a variation in the capacity and capability of burn centers. Overall, the system of burn disaster management is advanced and it is comparable to other high-income countries. Nevertheless, further improvement in the areas of preparation, triage, communication, and finally training would make disaster response more resilient in the future. Therefore, there is still space for further improvement of the management of burn disasters in Belgium.

MeSH terms

  • Belgium
  • Burn Units / organization & administration*
  • Communication
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disaster Planning / organization & administration*
  • Equipment and Supplies, Hospital
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training
  • Mass Casualty Incidents*
  • Patient Transfer / organization & administration
  • Surge Capacity
  • Triage / organization & administration