Staying "connected" has become a common way of life, but sometimes natural or manmade forces can sever these connections. During life-saving operations, inaction is not an option. Emergency medical services agencies need to have a back-up plan when everyday technology fails and personnel must implement "old-school" techniques.
The first U.S. case of Ebola has been confirmed in Texas, so what once was considered a "foreign" disease is now on domestic soil. The key question is, "Are U.S. healthcare workers prepared?" Although it takes time, it is never too late to build awareness, provide protection, and implement procedures.
In 1900, writer Rudyard Kipling created a story about "The Elephant's Child" that would not stop asking questions. More than 100 years later, planners must ask similarly tough questions in order to protect critical infrastructure assets that could have devastating ripple effects should they cease functioning.
Medical examiners/coroners are an integral part of a mass fatality response, but they are not always included during the pre-planning phase. The process of responding to living versus deceased victims is very different, so it is important to understand before the incident where to stage, decontaminate, store, examine, identify, and release human remains, and who will perform each task.
In January 2014, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Catastrophic Events released a white paper listing seven recommendations to enhance the sustainability of preparedness efforts in the United States. The IOM paper reflects on relevant past accomplishments, the current state of public health preparedness, and future public health requirements to stay viable, sustainable, and effective.
Adequate defense for a bioterrorism attack requires fortification of the public health infrastructure as well as the establishment and continuance of a good healthcare system. With the potential to spread rapidly with and between communities, bioagents as weapons pose a significant threat to U.S. communities that require greater attention on a national scale.
Increased intercontinental travel and increased biological, pandemic, and other disease threats mean that countries must effectively cooperate and communicate to prevent the spread of disease within and between interconnected communities. The Global Health Security helps bring together global partners and address key issues related to preventing, detecting, and responding to such public health threats.
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Lassa fever, and other pathogenic infections are just a few of the biothreats that recently have grabbed national attention in the United States. What were once considered foreign diseases are not so foreign in a globalized economy. As such, a national strategy for biosurveillance must effectively reach all levels of the public and private sectors.
Special events and daily operational tasks require a comprehensive understanding of the workflow process. Specialized products as well as pencil and paper are applicable for mapping workflow, identifying bottlenecks and redundancies, defining roles, and providing the agency staff perspective on how one unit's work affects the operation of the agency "downstream".
Survivors, responders, and the public are all affected by natural and manmade disasters. Peers supporting peers is the concept behind critical incident stress management. Because each person handles stress differently, personal and organizational resilience may require building a support structure with others who shared the same experience.