'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, missing, or hospitalized. Here is how one major U.S. jurisdiction is handling that responsibility.

Field-Proven Medical Skills for Law-Enforcement Units

Thanks to major improvements in military medical care, even on the battlefield itself, the U.S. combat KIA (killed in action) casualty rate has declined dramatically for more than half a century. Question: Could the same medical skills, training, and equipment be used to reduce the KIA rate of U.S. police and other law-enforcement personnel? The obvious answer is an unqualified “Yes!” But it will take time, patience, and determination.

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 large that the global flu pandemic is not yet dead, only sleeping.

Technology and Equipment: Training Needed on Both

Baltimore knows, and so do the great states of Oregon and Pennsylvania, that the first requirement in preparedness training is having the right type of equipment – in the quantities needed to meet all possible contingencies. The “other” first requirement is to ensure that all users of that equipment are well trained, as frequently as possible – and, again, to meet all possible contingencies.

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 maintaining acceptable safety standards.

Hospital Emergency Planning: Hospitals Qualify as Critical Infrastructure

How does one define “critical”? Far too often in today’s interconnected world, that important designation is awarded retrospectively – i.e., after a terroristic attack or major weather disaster. A credible case can be made, though, that major hospitals and other healthcare facilities deserve that description because of their intrinsic value to the entire community.

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 dollars, but also human lives, are at stake.

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 government plans and policies are beginning to catch up with the “special needs” of these special citizens.

The Reality of On-Scene Medical Control Physicians

The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system in the United States functions primarily under the philosophy that EMS should – as efficiently as possible – assess, treat, and then quickly transport a patient to the appropriate hospital for definitive treatment by physicians. If needed, Medical Control (MC) is supplied off-line in protocols or online via various communication technologies. The paramedic-driven EMS system used in the United States was developed not because it was an inherently better design, but largely because of economic reasons – including a relative shortage of available physicians. It is undeniably less costly and time consuming to train paramedics rather than physicians, and paramedics are considerably less expensive to pay.
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