Disasters often lead to chaos, but how long the chaos lasts depends largely on the actions of the affected communities and whether all local resources are being used effectively. The longer it takes businesses to become fully operational, the longer it takes for the community as a whole to recover.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is making available a new food related emergency exercise to help public health and other officials understand and coordinate their roles and responsibilities, and prepare for a food-related emergency.
Although they may not want to be called "heroes," military members and veterans can fill a critical gap in emergency and disaster response. Their unique qualities of training, discipline, leadership, and teamwork make them the perfect emergent responder either as a member of an organized team, or simply by being in the right place at the right time.
Although most suicides injure only the suicide victims themselves, others may cause injury to anyone within close proximity. With law enforcement officers typically being the first on the scene of such incidents, they should be aware of the hazards and be able to recognize the signs of potential residual threats.
Hazardous materials personnel are faced with a broad range of chemical, biological, and radiological hazards. However, not all hazards are equal, nor are similar quantities. Responders who encounter radiological materials need to know the relationship of quantity and biological impact of specific materials by first understanding the terminology of measurement units.
Functional exercises are invaluable for helping participants understand their roles in disasters. This is particularly true for participants who normally are not included in interagency exercises, such as behavioral health personnel. Triaging following a disaster should not stop at the physical level, but should consider psychological concerns as well.
Responders interested in training at the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) can now view video descriptions of courses, as well as news stories and podcasts on CDP training and events on YouTube. The CDP's primary mission is to train state, local, and tribal emergency response providers, as well as the federal government, foreign governments, and private organizations.
When civil unrest erupts, emergency planners must look beyond the riot itself to understand how the riots culminated, who the key antagonists were, and what can be done to improve planning and response for future outbreaks of violence. In Baltimore, officials are talking in order to accomplish all three of these goals.
In any emergency or disaster incident, some tasks will be done well and others will be the basis for lessons to learn and changes to implement after the smoke clears. The Baltimore riot is one example. Law enforcement officers quickly learned that, even with multidiscipline planning and training for special events, they were not fully prepared for the unplanned events that unfolded.
From the Occupy movement to burning cars and looting pharmacies, Baltimore, Maryland, has seen its share of peaceful (and not-so-peaceful) protests. In light of recent publicized civil unrest, cities across the country continue to seek a balance between protecting First Amendment rights and protecting the communities and residents for which these rights were intended.