Food is essential to life. Its production, distribution, and consumption present unique – and increasingly urgent – economic and public health challenges. Roughly 50% of the world’s assets, 50% of global employment, and 50% of consumer expenditures are related to the food system. Closer to home, the second and third largest employers in the United States are in the food industry. About one-third of Americans eat at least one meal away from home each day. Anticipation, evaluation, and control of food-related infections and contamination are essential functions provided by the governmental public health system.
On 6 November 2018, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggested the current Ebola outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri Provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) might not be contained due to lack of cooperation from local communities and an unstable security situation. Assertions such as these have driven the Global Health Security Alliance, an independent network of internationals experts, to distribute a commentary about the “Ebola Outbreak in the DRC.” Driven by the shared understanding that health and security issues have increasing and interrelated global impacts, the Alliance separates facts from hyperboles in this informative document on this international public health threat.
When faced with cases of highly infectious diseases, emergency responders and medical receivers need to know how to protect themselves and prevent the disease from spreading to others. One training facility is focusing on this topic with courses that instruct healthcare workers and other responders about infection-control barrier guidelines and isolation protocols.
Although 2017 was a historic year for natural disasters, 2018 is turning out to be more of the same. Filled with wildfires, tornadoes, floods, tropical systems, and the devastating Hurricanes Florence and Michael, it appears the frequency of natural disasters is increasing. Preparedness professionals face challenges meeting the needs of everyone impacted by such events, especially those with chronic conditions. Fortunately, with pre-disaster planning and post-disaster recovery and evaluation, preparedness professionals can better help the most vulnerable access the resources they need.
Prior to 2013, the active threat plans in Nashua, New Hampshire (NH), consisted of separate responses by law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical services (EMS). There was no coordinated plan. Involvement with area hospitals was not considered other than receiving patients. The Nashua Police SWAT Team and the Nashua Office of Emergency Management recognized this gap. This case study shares this city’s solution for creating and testing an integrated active threat “one plan” (the integration of several previously existing plans).
On 15 November 2016, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released a letter report to the president on “Action Needed to Protect Against Biological Attack.” PCAST urged the president for immediate action to ensure that the nation has the ability to meet these challenges with near-, medium-, and long-term goals. It is critical that the recommendations in this letter are conveyed to the current administration, and not lost in transition.
During disaster response, individuals suffering from opioid addiction have both similar and unique needs as compared to those suffering from other types of illness. Emergency responders need the resources to manage opioid-addicted victims of a disaster, and response teams must be appropriately staffed to meet the physical and behavioral health needs of addiction. Response personnel must coordinate closely with local public health officials and other addiction stakeholders to facilitate access to local support services
The concept of the Rescue Task Force (RTF) came from the Arlington County (Virginia) Fire Department. Looking at active shooter events around the country, these fire department leaders created a model that enables emergency medical services (EMS) to provide emergency medical intervention faster and within the Incident Command System (ICS) construct.
When faced with a health crisis such as a pandemic, the primary objective is ensuring the health and well being of the public and finding the fastest and easiest method to limit the spread of disease and take care of those who are sick. Cyberthreats can hinder public health efforts if mitigation steps are not taken and partners are not engaged before a pandemic or other public health crisis occurs.
First responders are often deployed to unique operating environments, which include large-scale special events with many participants and spectators: street festivals; road races or marathons; concerts; and sporting events. These environments require leadership to take a forward-thinking posture in the planning process to develop strategy. It also relies on front-line personnel to execute tactics that vary from day-to-day operations.