Training for Multi-Agency Response Efforts

by JL Smither -

The "incident," "disaster," or whatever can be relatively small, but the lessons learned may be very large indeed. That sad fact of life (but sometimes death) was drummed home vividly to those participating in a two-hour UNH campus ministry social that ended several weeks later with a potentially deadly case of gastrointestinal anthrax - the first ever recorded in the United States.

The New CDC 'Zombies' of Emergency Preparedness

by Joseph Cahill -

Official government prose is formal, dignified, and enriched with copious quantities of federalese - accurate usually, but also bland and flavorless. Which is why the CDC is reaching out to touch citizens of the 24/7 generation through the use of blogs, tweets, Facebook and other social media that are much more likely to get their attention.

A Three-Question Approach to Grants

by Joseph Cahill -

"Is the Grant a Good Fix?" "What Will It Take to Implement the Grant?" "What Are the Estimated Continuing Costs of the Project?" Those not-so-easy questions should be asked long before a grant is requested. The answers may at times be discouraging, but not nearly as discouraging as losing a grant because the questions were not asked - and answered - in advance, and in considerable detail.

Public Health and Medical Interoperability Challenges

by Bruce Clements -

Rapid advances in telemedicine and in the computerization of medical records are now the norm, but are made extremely complicated by - well, by other rapid advances in telemedicine and in the computerization of medical records. Additional breakthroughs are still possible, and highly desired. The pace of progress should perhaps be just a wee bit slower, it says here, but much better managed.

45 Seconds of Danger, a Lifetime of Lessons

by Craig DeAtley -

True or not, the fact that "It never happened here" frequently morphs into a belief that "It can't happen here." That is an extremely dangerous assumption, as the "45-second" tornado that devastated Joplin, Missouri, proved once again. The resilient citizens of that gallant city are digging out, though, and recognize that the real key to survival is to "Plan for the worst, but hope for the best."

The Public Health Role During Mass-Fatality Incidents

by Raphael Barishansky & Audrey Mazurek -

Many major disasters start without warning, continue for periods ranging from mere seconds to weeks or months, and leave behind a chaotic mass of useless rubble and ruined lives. The work of public health agencies necessarily starts well before the first tremor, continues through the entire response/recovery/resilience process, and ends - well, never.

Antidotes: The Care and Cure for 'What Ails You'

by Joseph Cahill -

The twin goals - total security, and immediate accessibility - prescribed for the perfect medical antidote program are not only mutually exclusive but also theoretically impossible to achieve. Almost. But there are some effective compromise measures that can bridge the differences, lower the loss rate, and significantly improve on-scene operational needs at the same time.

Mass Evacuation of Medical and Functional Needs Populations

by Bruce Clements -

It is reasonable to expect that, when the population of a community - or nation - grows, the need for a mass evacuation of some type will grow at the same pace. That need increases exponentially, though: (a) when catastrophic weather events occur with greater frequency; and/or (b) in the current "Age of Terrorism" when mass-casualty incidents have become the normal way of waging war. In either case, the protection of special-needs populations becomes immensely more difficult.

Medical Surge Management: Public-Private Healthcare Coalitions

by Chad Priest & Bobby Courtney -

Thanks (sort of) to the ravages caused by Hurricane Katrina, and a number of other disasters - including terrorist attacks - there is a growing awareness that U.S. healthcare facilities must focus much greater attention on building, and/or improving, their individual and collective "surge" capabilities. Here is a brief report on what has been accomplished so far, and some helpful recommendations to both improve and accelerate the process.

The Expanding Role of Sanitarians in Public Health Emergencies

by Rahul Gupta -

Doctors, nurses, and other highly visible professionals get the greatest credit, deservedly, in most public-health incidents and events. Playing increasingly important roles, though - before, during, and after such incidents - are the nation's unsung and much less publicized sanitarians whose special expertise in numerous operational scenarios is finally being recognized.