Threats Evolving Faster Than Preparedness

by Robert C. Hutchinson -

With the current amount of discussion and media coverage regarding the spreading Zika virus and the mounting concerns over antibiotic drug resistance, public health remains a critical homeland security and emergency preparedness priority. Unfortunately, it is often a fluctuating priority that does not receive consistent attention, action, and funding to prepare for future known and unknown public health threats.

U.S. Response to Outbreaks of Avian Influenza

by Gary A. Flory -

Although avian influenza outbreaks occur periodically in poultry flocks, only recently has avian influenza been considered a significant threat to human health and the global economy. The 1997 emergence of H5N1 first brought attention to avian influenza's ability to cause disease in humans. However, human infection with influenza from avian sources is not a new phenomenon.

Public Health Preparedness Realities

by Raphael M. Barishansky & Seth J. Komansky -

The term "situational awareness" typically conjures images of emergency responders on the scene of a complex incident with many emergency vehicles and various levels of activity, both command and operationally oriented. Public health normally does not enter into the equation, but perhaps it is time to change that thinking.

Status of Preparedness: Emergency Medical Services

by Seth J. Komansky -

Responders in the pre-hospital emergency medical field must be in a state of readiness at all times. Working on the front lines of an emergency incident requires the ability to leverage external resources, the determination to harden operations, and the skillfulness to manage patient surge.

Innovations in Healthcare Disaster Management for Veterans

by Jessica Wambach Brown -

Although fewer than 40 percent of U.S. veterans receive care through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the agency strives to have broad access to reliable medical care during a disaster. The Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center and its partners are exploring ways to improve healthcare resilience both inside and outside the VA.

Uncertain Impact of Critical Biosecurity Reports

by Robert C. Hutchinson -

Although many lessons have been learned from Ebola and other infectious diseases, planning needs are quickly diverted when the previous threat is overshadowed by another emerging or re-emerging disease, or other homeland security threat. However, without adequate prioritization, planning, and preparedness, the nation may be set for failure when the next unexpected threat presents.

The Art of Awareness for Emergency Medical Calls

by Seth J. Komansky & Raphael M. Barishansky -

Civilian responders have successfully acquired many skills that were originally developed by military services. Situational awareness is one such skill that would be beneficial to adapt to the civilian members of the emergency medical services. Maintaining a heightened sense of awareness would help responders stay "in the loop."

Forging New Partnerships for Healthcare Preparedness

by Jessica Wambach Brown -

In the first week of December 2015, more than 1,000 professionals in healthcare-related organizations, emergency management agencies, public health departments, emergency medical services (EMS), nongovernmental organizations, and academia met in San Diego, California, to discuss ways to bolster partnerships within and between these disparate groups.

Food for Thought: Emergency Shelters & Food Allergies

by Andrew Roszak -

When one peanut has the ability to kill, it is necessary to examine the practices and procedures used in public yet confined spaces such as emergency shelters. By following simple steps, emergency managers are able to perform shelter operations while limiting exposure to allergens and contaminants that could turn a safe haven into an exposure risk.

New Decontamination Resource - Information & Expertise

by Craig DeAtley -

A new federal resource equips healthcare providers with a valuable information repository. This resource also offers a way to request technical assistance and provides a forum for peer-to-peer discussions. Decontamination is just one of the many in-depth topics addressed by subject matter experts in the healthcare field.