In the course of preparing for an emergency, a pack of respirators from the local hardware store may be purchased with the thought that they are ready to use out of the box. However, before relying on one of these devices for protection, there are some important selection and use criteria to consider. Choosing and using a respirator is a process that, if done the right way, can help prepare for and protect against health threats in an emergency.
FLIR Systems Inc. has announced the availability of multiple enhancements to its Griffin™ G510 portable GC-MS chemical detector to help responders analyze and identify drugs, chemical agents, and other toxic substances faster and more effectively during field operations. Major new features on the G510 give users access to an expanded onboard drug library, as well as a new quick-search capability for chemicals and hazardous substances.
The challenge of factoring in both the certain and the unknown to deliver electricity under all kinds of scenarios involves a series of incredibly complex math problems. With the assistance of artificial intelligence (AI), researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory are developing new ways to extract insights from mountains of data on the electric grid, with the goal of ensuring greater reliability, resilience and efficiency.
Studies report that most children with special health care needs (CSHCN) families are under prepared for disasters. These findings are concerning since these children often require special equipment, supplies, or medical care—access to which can be disrupted by environmental hazards or other emergencies.
First responders gathered at the Port of Houston’s Sam Houston Pavilion in Texas with response vehicles, vessels, and a mobile command center to engage in a simulated multi-effort emergency response to an accidental release of a volatile chemical on the Houston Ship Channel. As the scenario unfolded, responders continuously assessed the efficiency and interoperability of next generation response technology, ensuring collected data provided the situational awareness they needed to provide efficient and timely response to victims.
Disasters and emergency evacuations can pose feeding difficulties for the mothers of infants and young children, but these challenges can be mitigated. When public health practitioners and emergency managers work together to implement straightforward guidelines, they can meet infant feeding needs in shelters. Access to maternal and reproductive health care should be a foundation in mass care after hazards and in crises scenarios.
Weather satellite imagery is an indispensable part of how government agencies and aid groups understand and respond to severe weather events. Now, government agencies and nongovernment organizations (NGOs) can use large-scale population movement data – anonymized and aggregated by Facebook – to plan future disaster response efforts.
The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and partner Azimuth1 LLC are developing an app called QuickRoute, giving first responders the quickest and safest route to incident scenes. QuickRoute takes into account the type of vehicle being driven, agency roadway protocols, specs like turn radius or bridge and tunnel clearance, and their unique ability to use lights and sirens to clear paths and avoid signals. Other data sources, including weather patterns, traffic and transit schedules, and local jurisdiction rules are also key factors.
The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) applauds the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act (S. 1379). This important legislation maintains the commitment of the federal government to local public health preparedness.
The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, established a network of eight accelerators in 2018 through an initiative called DRIVe, the BARDA Division of Research, Innovation, and Ventures. BARDA DRIVe now seeks to expand that network into other parts of the country.