Journal Published Online: 01 January 2002
Volume 47, Issue 1

Dental Participants in Mass Disasters—A Retrospective Study with Future Implications



Mass casualty incidents continue to require the services of forensic dentists to determine the identity of victims. Across North America and Europe, teams of forensic dentists train, using mock disaster exercises, to prepare for such duties. It is vital that these mock exercises simulate the features of real disaster situations as far as possible. In order to inform those responsible for the design and implementation of mock exercises, a study was undertaken to determine the features of actual disasters that dental personnel had attended. Using a questionnaire, data were solicited from 38 odontologists. The average number of disasters attended by the respondents was eight, with an average casualty number of 94. Aircraft crashes were the most frequent cause of disasters that were attended by the odontologists. The authors conclude that future mock disaster exercises should replicate features of aircraft crashes as closely as possible by using commingled, fragmented, and burned remains. In addition, mock disasters should require the identification of a realistic number of individuals to ensure authenticity and the maximum logistical preparedness of participants.

Author Information

Pretty, IA
The University of Liverpool, Faculty of Medicine, England
Webb, DA
The University of Huddersfield, W. Yorkshire, England
Sweet, D
The Bureau of Legal Dentistry, Vancouver, Canada
Pages: 4
Price: $25.00
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Stock #: JFS15210J
ISSN: 0022-1198
DOI: 10.1520/JFS15210J