Mass Fatalities – More Than Just a Number

A chemical spill, nuclear attack, biological agent, pandemic, hurricane, and numerous other threats and hazards have the potential to kill enough people to overwhelm any particular jurisdiction. Whether that number is 10 or 10,000 or more, the “unthinkable” can happen anywhere. On 16 June 2017, DomPrep hosted a panel discussion on this topic at the International Hazardous Materials Response Teams Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. The key takeaways from that session are summarized here.

In Memoriam MG Timothy J Lowenberg (Ret.)

On 27 August 2017, DomPrep and the Preparedness Leadership Council  lost a long-time friend and the nation lost a highly revered icon of domestic preparedness and homeland security. Major General (Ret.) Timothy J. Lowenberg (Washington National Guard) was above all a public servant who sought to protect the lives and safety of all Americans. His knowledge and dedication were the tools that made him an effective advocate for homeland security issues.

Disasters Are About the People

Hurricane Harvey has caused widespread destruction, and its aftermath continues to pose a significant threat to life and safety. In this and other large-scale incidents, the exact number of people affected is hard to determine because of the complex physical and social networks that exist within and between jurisdictional boundaries. Knowing how to manage the lives lost and the lives affected is a challenge. However, when preparing for a catastrophic event, it is important to remember that even one lost life can have devastating effects on a community.

When Pandemic Management Meets Cybersecurity

When faced with a health crisis such as a pandemic, the primary objective is ensuring the health and well being of the public and finding the fastest and easiest method to limit the spread of disease and take care of those who are sick. Cyberthreats can hinder public health efforts if mitigation steps are not taken and partners are not engaged before a pandemic or other public health crisis occurs.

Mortuary Logistic Challenges of Mass Fatality Incidents

Today in the United States, some in society are hesitant to acknowledge or plan for “failure options” – in other words, admit that the worst of the worst can happen. The military requires planning for just about every situation including when operations do not go as planned. However, those in emergency management and domestic preparedness operations need to consider tragedy and events unimaginable to most people.

Plugging the Experience Drain in Hazmat Response

As a metaphor for picturing the maintenance of preparedness, imagine a number of 5-gallon buckets, where each one represents some aspect of readiness – detection, personal protective equipment (PPE), communications, training, etc. Each bucket is filled with water andeally each would stay filled representing a steady state of preparedness.

Responding to Unique Operating Environments

Effective trainings are ones where the participants remember and later implement what they learned into their daily operations. Not everyone knows how they would respond in a true emergency. However, some trainings provide a more realistic glimpse into disaster scenarios than others. This first-hand account describes what it was like for one participant inside a hospital training facility.

Mass Fatality Incidents & Challenges for First Responders

Mass fatality incidents present many challenges. To effectively plan for such events, certain key factors must be taken into consideration: common causes and challenges, as well as resources available. By communicating with the local medical examiner/coroner, being familiar with mass fatality plans, and learning about any pertinent capabilities and limitations, emergency planners can make informed decisions and close existing gaps.

Physically Uninjured – A Survivor’s Perspective

A mass casualty incident leaves many victims in its wake. Beyond those who are tragically killed, survivors also suffer from the physical and psychological effects of the incident. Unfortunately, the
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