Whether responding to mass casualties from a nuclear blast or an attack by a single "Lone Wolf" shooter, hospital preparedness requires careful planning, effective coordination, and collaboration in the sharing of critical resources. Inter-hospital cooperation and training will almost always result in a better outcome than would be possible through single-facility planning efforts.
On 9 August 1945, the Japanese port city of Nagasaki experienced a devastating nuclear attack that not only led to the end of World War II but also had long-lasting effects. Preparing for a nuclear blast and the radiological dangers that follow requires careful planning to ensure effective personal protective equipment, proper isolation procedures, and optimum decontamination processes.
The allocation of the 700 MHz D Block network for the public safety sector means that many jurisdictions are now faced with important purchasing decisions - as well as decisions about their existing communications systems. Regardless of the type of equipment, brand, or price, the resilience of operations must be a key factor in the decision-making process.
In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, reporters show images of communities that are faced with destruction and a need to rebuild. However, there is often an even greater devastation with even harder pieces to pick up - the mental and physical health effects. Both types of recovery are required and both should be included in a community's resilience framework.
An earthquake devastates Haiti, a tsunami smashes into northeast Japan, tornadoes rip through major U.S. cities - all of these disasters attracted responders from around the world who had volunteered to help in the aftermath. Some of the volunteers were well prepared and went through proper channels, but others created additional work for the authorities responsible for ensuring the safety and security of responders and survivors alike.
The official verdict of the 2012 NPR assessment of the nation's "Public Health and Medical Services" capabilities is encouraging: Headed in the right direction, numerous milestones already passed, and overall progress more than satisfactory. However, major concerns still exist in an era of reduced federal funding and additional cutbacks in the foreseeable future.
During a medical emergency, navigating through large crowds requires more than just lights and sirens. By strategically placing resources, understanding the type of crowd, and preparing for all-hazards events, medical teams will be better equipped to rapidly respond as needs arise.
When a major tornado touches down - as happened one year ago in Joplin, Missouri - immediate evacuation of schools, hospitals, and other heavily populated buildings becomes mandatory. In addition to advance planning, risk assessments, extensive training, and mutual-aid partnerships, the National Capital Region took a giant step forward with the formation of a Coalition Partnership to cope with even Titanic-sized emergencies.
Thanks to the increased focus on homeland security in recent years, most Americans now understand the need to "triage" victims of a mass-casualty incident. Less understood is the triage approach as it applies to taking patients from an incident site to a healthcare facility: (a) immediate transport, with medical care en route; (b) less urgent transport, with minimal medical care needed en route; and (c) non-urgent transport, emergency vehicles not necessary.
A "big-screen" presentation, an all-star panel discussion, the Joplin tornado, preparedness gains - and the many gaps that still remain - were among the major highlights of the 2012 Public Health Preparedness Summit in Anaheim. Numerous workshops and town hall meetings were also on the hugely important schedule. Plan early to attend the 2013 Summit in Atlanta, Georgia.