Hospital Emergency Departments – Infectious Diseases: The First Line of Defense

Very few Emergency Departments in U.S. hospitals can cope with a major outbreak of infectious diseases. But there is much that could & should be done before an outbreak occurs. Improved communications between and among all major medical facilities in the same geographic area should be the first priority, along

Swabs and Samples; Assays and Analytes

The collection of “samples” at the scene of a crime – or a toxic release or other possible mass-casualty incident – calls for extremely detailed planning, precise execution, and constant vigilance. Here is a short list of some of the numerous dangers and difficulties involved – some of them terminal

DomPrep Executive Briefing on PS-Prep

The well attended 15 November DomPrep Executive Briefing on the Department of Homeland Security’s new “Private-Sector Preparedness” program not only provided a wealth of information for those participating but also raised several exceptionally relevant questions – on a broad range of closely related topics. The one virtually unanimous conclusion (no

UTMB: From Disaster Planning to Long-Term Recovery

Established in 1891 as the Medical Department of the University of Texas and housed in a single building with a class of 23 students, the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB Health) today is a sprawling and modern health science center with an annual budget of $1.5 billion. Home to

‘Pathogens for Knuckleheads’: The Enemy Within – Invisible & Infectious

A possible nuclear attack against the U.S. homeland gets more attention, but homeland-security experts say an attack involving biological weapons could be much more devastating in its consequences. The warhead of such weapons would be pathogens – which, as this primer “for Knuckleheads” points out, are low in cost, easy

‘My Loved One Was in That Accident – Can You Help Me?’

A plane crash, a toxic-chemical spill, and other “mass-casualty” incidents all represent just the beginning of an extremely complicated response and recovery process. One of the most important “collateral duties” will be the dissemination of timely information to the media, the general public, and the worried families of those dead,

Reducing the H1N1 Risk: Public-Private Social Media Partnerships

In business, in politics, and in sports, one of the oldest human truths is that, “If you can’t beat them, join them!” That seemingly eternal verity is being tested again, very effectively, by CDC and the nation’s healthcare communities are using widgets, tweets, and Whyville to persuade the public at

U.S. Vaccine Development: Expediting the Process

Influenza and many other diseases spread with the speed of summer lightning. The “cure” for these frequently fatal viruses moves at a much slower pace – largely because the testing and validation processes take so long. Fortunately, there are new approaches coming into play to expedite those processes while still

Another Look at EMS Staffing in Action

As this year’s U.S. elections clearly demonstrate, there is a built-in conflict between voters’ desire for more and improved services and the equally compelling requirement, at all levels of government, to reduce expenditures. In the field of emergency medical services, this problem is particularly difficult to resolve because not only

Functional Needs Support Services: A New Paradigm in Emergency Shelter Operations

Everyone in any given community throughout the world suffers when a hurricane, earthquake, or other disaster occurs. Those who suffer the most, though, are usually those already suffering from other problems, specifically including medical impairments that make it difficult to function on their own, or even with assistance. Fortunately, new

Emerging Trends in CBRN Detection – Moving Forward

The goal is clear: to protect the U.S. homeland from CBRN attacks today, tomorrow, and far into the future. But the race – against an implacable enemy – is endless, there are numerous gaps and pitfalls blocking the way forward, and the winner may not necessarily be the runner who

NIMS-ICS & the Private Sector – Good Fit, or a Stretch?

Nine years later, and nothing has changed! Well, that is not exactly true. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is alive and, although not always moving forward at flank speed, has made considerable progress in several ways. Many relatively new programs should be expanded and upgraded, though, particularly those involving


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