UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, California, US has agreed to lead a consortium across five states to set up a West Coast Center of Excellence in Pediatric Disaster Care.

The new centre is intended to improve emergency disaster response for children across California, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona and Washington.

Named Western Regional Alliance for Pediatric Emergency Medicine (WRAP-EM), the consortium involves a total of 60 paediatric medical centres, trauma centres, government agencies, industry experts and health care systems.

UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals president Michael Anderson said: “This calibre of organisations and subject matter experts across state lines, jointly developing a cohesive disaster communications and response system, has never been done before.

“As part of WRAP-EM, we will expand our support by developing a coordinated, collaborative and sustainable regional disaster response plan that will match resources to paediatric needs during a mass casualty event.”

The consortium will deploy a 12-month project in two phases.

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During the first phase, a comprehensive review of available resources will be carried out, along with paediatric emergency resource library development and review of the consortium’s current ability for emergency response.

The second phase will work on additional products, including a guide to regional paediatric disaster response expertise, telemedicine interconnections, as well as patient tracking, reunification and information-sharing approaches.

In addition to UCSF Benioff, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) selected University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio to lead a similar consortium.

The two consortiums will work to analyse paediatric disaster care requirements and related challenges, while tackling weaknesses in emergency communication or access.