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May 1982

The MGM Grand Hotel Fire: Lessons Learned From a Major Disaster

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, University of Nevada School of Medicine (Drs Buerk, Batdorf, and Cammack), and the Clark County Health Department (Dr Ravenholt), Las Vegas.

Arch Surg. 1982;117(5):641-644. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1982.01380290087015

• Most community disaster plans are formulated to respond to disasters of moderate size. The MGM Grand Hotel fire in Las Vegas, because of its magnitude, had the potential to overwhelm completely the local medical resources. It did not, because of innovative responses to unforeseen problems based on sound disaster planning. Fortunately, disasters on the magnitude of this fire are rare, and few communities have ever faced the problem of dealing with thousands of casualties. The important lessons learned about perimeter control, command functions, helicopter evacuation, crowd control, and transportation priorities will benefit disaster planners in other communities.

(Arch Surg 1982;117:641-644)

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