APHA has new fact sheets with tips on preparing for tornadoes, hurricanes,tsunamis, mosquitoes and home disasters as well as info on safe buildings and sheltering in place. They are also available in Spanish.
FREE MATERIALS TO HELP YOU CREATE AN EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS STOCKPILE
Get Ready: Set Your Clocks, Check Your Stocks
• Shopping list: What should I shop for? Grocery list (PDF)
• Recipes: What can I make to eat during a disaster? Recipes (PDF)
Dr. Howard Osofsky, Professor and Chair of Psychiatry at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Medicine, is an author of a review article published in the April 7, 2011 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine*** that urgently calls for the development of protocols to deal with the health effects of disasters — before the next one occurs.
One year after the largest and most devastating oil spill in United States history, the magnitude of the impact of the Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil Spill on human health, the environment, and the economy remains unknown. Along with the 9/11 World Trade Center terrorist attack and Hurricane Katrina, this most recent US catastrophe underscores both the lack of knowledge about long-term effects as well as the need for better plans to improve interventions and services to deal with the consequences of such crises.
The article reports what is currently known about the toxicologic consequences of exposures in the Gulf Oil Spill as well as what is known from other spills. However, the authors note the complexity of assessing the full effects of exposures due to the presence of all five elements of a complete exposure pathway, multiple sources of contaminants, and multiple points of exposure. As well, a disproportionately large under-lying disease burden in the population of the Gulf States makes it particularly vulnerable to environmental and natural disasters. The authors report documented symptoms among some 52,000 responders from a number of sources, including self-identified health problems. Additionally, vulnerability to heat stress in the high summer temperatures in the Gulf compounded by personal protective equipment also contributed to health risks, particularly among inexperienced volunteers.
Of particular concern are the mental health symptoms among response workers and community members after oil disasters……
***Not yet online [ April 7, 2011 ]
- Natural Disasters (Library Guide, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagn)
- Environmental Disaster Managment (Library Guide, Arizona State University)
- Disaster Information Outreach – A Symposium for Information Professionals Meeting Disaster Health Information Needs
(US Dept of Health and Human Services) Includes link to archived videocast and slide presentation
- Gulf Residents Concerned About Health Effects Of Oil Spill, But Link Remains Unconfirmed (VIDEO) (huffingtonpost.com)
- Fukushima’s Disaster Plan: A Stretcher and a Fax (newser.com)
Ready or Not? Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism
[Flahiff's note: Here in Northwest Ohio, one area of concern is Lake Erie water sampling for organisms as E. coli and toxic algae. For years a private college was doing the testing with their own funds. The funds have dried up and the state is still trying to come up with reliable funding.]
The findings of this report by the Trust for America’s Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation are that budget cuts have imperiled a decade of progress in how the nation prevents, identifies, and contains new disease outbreaks and bioterrorism threats and responds to the aftermath of natural disasters.
Section 1 of the report provides a state by state evaluation on 10 key preparedness indicators in areas as funding, communication, planning, and staffing.
Section 2 of the report examines current federal policy issues and gives recommendations for improving disaster preparedness.
Gaps in preparedness are outlined (as workforce gaps) and examples of major emergency public health threats are identified. Hallmarks of all-hazards preparedness are also identified and National Health Security Strategy is outlined.
The report also includes expert perspectives national strategies and over 70 scientific/medical references in the endnotes section.
Key Findings of this Report (from page 5 of the report)
- 33 states and D.C. cut funding for public health from FY 2008-09 to FY 2009-10.
- Only 7 states can not currently share data electronically with health care providers.
- 10 states do not have an electronic syndromic surveillance system that can report and exchange information.
- Only six states reported that pre-identified staff were not able to acknowledge notification of emergency exercises or incidents within the target time of 60 minutes at least twice during 2007-08.
- Six states did not activate their emergency operations center (EOC) a minimum of two times in 2007-08.
- Only two states did not develop at least two After-Action Report/Improvement Plans (AAR/IPs) after exercises or real incidents in 2007-08.
- 25 states do not mandate all licensed child care facilities to have a multi-hazard written evacuation and relocation plan.
- 21 states were not able to rapidly identify disease-causing E.coli O157:H7 and submit the lab results in 90 percent of cases within four days during 2007-08.
- Only three states and D.C. report not having enough staffing capacity to work five, 12-hour days for six to eight weeks in response to an infectious disease outbreak, such as novel influenza A H1N1.
- Only one state decreased their Laboratory Response Network for Chemical Threats (LRN-C) chemical capability from August 10, 2009 to August 9, 2010.
The Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC) helpswith national emergency preparedness, response, and recovery efforts. As part of NLM’s Specialized Information Services (SIS) division, DIMRC collects, organizes, and disseminates health information resources and informatics research related to disasters of natural, accidental, or deliberate origin.
It focuses on maintaining access to health information during disasters and developing services and projects for emergency providers and managers . (From the DMIRC about page).
A sampling of DMIRC resources
- Emergency and Response Tools as Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders (WISER). WISER helps emergency responders identify hazardous materials and respond to chemical emergencies. It contains information on over 400 chemicals and radiologic agents.
- Disaster Medicine and Public Health Literature . For example, the Resource Guide for Public Health Preparedness includes expert guidelines, factsheets, websites, technical reports, articles, and more.TOXLINE contains over three million references from the toxicology literature, including MEDLINE/PubMed, research in progress, and meeting abstracts.
- Librarians and Disasters has links to resources and tools as a bibliography on the librarian’s role in disasters and links to related listservs. The Emergency Access Initiative provides temporary free access to full text articles from major biomedicine titles to healthcare professionals, librarians, and the public affected by disasters.