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10 MCI lessons from the Beirut port explosion

The Beirut incident commander, Dr. Shawky Amine Eddine shares insights from the largest non-nuclear explosion in history

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This episode of EMS One-Stop with Rob Lawrence is brough to you by Lexipol, the experts in policy, training, wellness support and grants assistance for first responders and government leaders. To learn more, visit

In August 2020, Shawky S. Amine Eddine, MD, became the EMS commander for the Beirut port explosion – the largest non-nuclear explosion in history. The blast killed 200, injured 6,500, and resulted in excess of 300,000 people suffering home damages and losses.

In terms of medical facilities in the blast area, four hospitals we rendered totally out of action, with eight further healthcare centers damaged.

The explosion added to an already pressurized healthcare system, as the country was at the height of the pandemic, as well as hosting over 900,000 refugees from war-torn Syria.

In this episode of EMS One-Stop, Dr. Amine Eddine joins host Rob Lawrence to discuss the backstory and devastation of the explosion, as well as the challenges to access, hospital capacity, communication, record keeping and the management of the dead.

Tune in as Dr. Amine Eddine shares 10 takeaways and lessons for responding to a large-scale MCI both identified from that eventful day (discussed in full in the broadcast):

  1. Don’t fish in the same lake
  2. Factor emotions
  3. Leadership tokens are earned in management and spent in command
  4. Even in crisis … plan
  5. The importance of data
  6. Decision making
  7. You are not alone – coordinate and communicate
  8. Rescuers’ wellbeing is a priority
  9. Don’t forget yourself and don’t lose yourself amidst the crisis
  10. We make mistakes

About our guest

Dr. Shawky Amine Eddine, MD, is a medical doctor with special interest in prehospital care, healthcare quality management and disaster management. He has served as an EMT in the Lebanese Red Cross (LRC) since 2007 and as head of station for Damour EMS Station, and is currently acting as LRC director for learning and development, assistant EMS director for training and quality, and COVID-19 response coordinator.

Dr. Amine Eddine has commanded multiple crises including Lebanon fires in 2019, Lebanon floods in 2019, protests in 2019-2020, COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 and the Beirut port explosion in 2020. He has led the real-time evaluations of COIVD-19 response. Dr. Amine Eddine is also a disaster management instructor in the Humanitarian Leadership Diploma, offered by Global Health Institute at AUB, an assistant professor at the Faculty of Nursing of the Lebanese Red Cross and a consultant for multiple local, regional and global NGOs.

Connect with Dr. Amine Eddine:


1:00 – Introduction Shawky S. Amine Eddine, MD

1:30 – Description of EMS in Lebanon

04:43 – The role of Jerry Overton in the development of EMS in Lebanon

06:18 – Setting the 2020 scene in Lebanon.

09:00 – Ammonium Nitrate – a bomb in the warehouse

12:00 – Gathering the situation: The fog of war!

14:00 – Loss of medical infrastructure due to the blast

17:00 – EMS resources deployed

18:00 – Command and control: The UK GOLD, SILVER and BRONZE system

23:00 – Lessons identified versus lessons learned

23:50 – Don’t fish in the same lake

28:00 – Factor emotions

30:00 – Leadership tokens are earned in management and spent in command

33:00 – Even in crisis … plan

37:00 – The importance of data

40:00 – Decision making

41:40 – You are not alone: Coordinate and communicate

43:00 – Rescuers’ wellbeing is a priority

45:30 – Don’t forget yourself and don’t lose yourself amidst the crisis

48:00 – I make mistakes

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