October 2013 Journal

Public Health & the Congressional Budget Standoff

The federal government shutdown caused major disruptions throughout the nation. Federal employees are now back at work, but employees of U.S. public health laboratories still risk losing much more than their paychecks. Congressional budget conflicts and further public health funding reductions are likely in the near future, and those cuts may not be worth the adverse consequences that follow.

Creating a Closed Point of Dispensing: A How-To Primer

During a bioterrorism event, the need to help 50,000 people seeking lifesaving medications can seem impossible for an already overwhelmed public healthcare facility. One solution for alleviating the congestion is to distribute medical countermeasures through other venues – for example, colleges and universities, businesses, and various private sector agencies and organizations.

FINAL REPORT: Planned Special Events - When Things Go Wrong

Deadly incidents such as the Boston Marathon bombings have raised many concerns among special event planners, emergency managers, and first responders. When an incident occurs at the site of a planned event, which usually has many moving parts, the challenges can become overwhelming. This report goes beyond special event planning to address the unfortunate times when the orderly sequence planned simply “goes wrong.”

Rapid Dispatching Reduces Call-Processing Times

During emergencies, every minute within the “golden hour” is of lifesaving importance. One county fire department in Maryland has developed and implemented a new protocol that shaves valuable time off the dispatching process. Getting medical units en route in less time ensures fast delivery of medical care to those who need it most.

Functional Needs - Awareness Is a Two-Way Street

Resilience for those with functional needs requires two things: (a) that these citizens personally understand what to expect during an emergency response; and (b) that emergency responders understand the physical and psychological impact not only on those with long-time functional needs but also on those suffering from what are described as “newly acquired” disabilities.

Ready & Able - But Not Always Willing

Public health agencies play a central role in responding to many different types of manmade and natural emergency situations – including, but not limited to, outbreaks of pandemic influenza, biological attacks, radiological incidents/events, and extreme weather emergencies. Unfortunately, the increased number of multi-casualty incidents in recent years (e.g., the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the 2009-2010 H1N1 pandemic, and even the 2011 earthquake and follow-on tsunami in Northern Japan) has changed the perspectives of many healthcare workers on how sudden disasters personally affect them and their families.

Public Health Response & Emergency Management Planning

Most disaster responses necessarily include a public health component. Emergency managers must always be aware of that fact when dealing with emerging threats and their possible consequences. By incorporating a public health response into emergency management planning, the nation will be much better prepared for the next pandemic or biological attack.

When the First Down Becomes the Worst Down

Automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) are available in many modern venues, but are still underutilized. By building awareness and training for AED use as well as understanding the plans and procedures in place for managing such emergencies, school staff can increase the survival rates of young athletes who suffer from cardiac arrest.

Healthcare Preparedness - The Resilience Challenge

As the nation’s circumstances change, unexpected events unfold, and funding shifts, the priorities of the U.S. healthcare system must change with them. The location and timing of the bomb attacks at the Boston Marathon this year helped reduce the number of lives lost, but that incident still raised new concerns about healthcare preparedness efforts and funding priorities.
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