Evaluation of the emergency medical system in an area following lifting of the mandatory evacuation order after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident: A retrospective cross-sectional observational study

Medicine (Baltimore). 2021 Jun 25;100(25):e26466. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000026466.


Following the lifting of the evacuation order due to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, the medical demand and emergency medical system (EMS) in the area where the evacuation orders were lifted have not been well-investigated. This study aimed to evaluate the emergency transportation in such areas and compare the differences with areas that had minimal impact.Using the local EMS transport records, the characteristics of patients who were transferred by an EMS vehicle in Minamisoma City were collected between July 12, 2016 and July 31, 2018, and were compared between former evacuation zones and outside the evacuation zones in the city.The number of emergency transports in the study period in Minamisoma City were 325 cases in the area where the evacuation orders were lifted and 4307 cases in the other areas. The total EMS time was significantly longer in the area where the evacuation order was lifted (48 ± 16 minutes) than in the other areas (40 ± 15 minutes) (P < .001). In the analysis of each component of EMS times, the transport time, which is the time from departure from the patient's location to arrival at a hospital, was significantly longer in the former evacuation zone than in the other areas (16 ± 9 vs 9 ± 9 minutes, P < .001), suggesting that transport time contributed to the longer EMS response times.In areas where the evacuation orders were lifted, the EMS transport time was significantly longer than that in the area outside the former evacuation zone; correspondingly, the total EMS time significantly increased in the former evacuation zone. A plausible reason for this may be the closure of local medical facilities following the evacuation order after the nuclear accident.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ambulances / organization & administration
  • Ambulances / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cities
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emergencies*
  • Emergency Medical Services / organization & administration
  • Emergency Medical Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Fukushima Nuclear Accident*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult