Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Chemical Hazards Emergency Medical Management – An Online/Offline Professional Resource

Chemical Hazards Emergency Medical Management

Chemical Hazards Emergency Medical Management

From an email alert by Holly Burt at NN/NLM GMR (National Network of Libraries of Medicine/Greater Midwest Region)

The National Library of Medicine has released Chemical Hazards EmergencyMedical Management (CHEMM) .

Chemical emergencies are high risk events that require first responders to quickly make a series of complex decisions to minimize the risk of injury to their patients and themselves. The tools in CHEMM provide a comprehensive resource to help responders make safer decisions and provide them with the right information when it is needed most.

CHEMM enables first responders and other healthcare providers and planners to plan for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the effects of mass-casualty incidents involving accidental or terrorist chemical releases.

CHEMM enhances and builds on the successes of the suite of Emergency Medical Management tools that began with the Radiation Emergency Medical Management (REMM; web-based resource, which provides information for health care providers about clinical diagnosis and treatment of radiation and other injuries anticipated following radiological and nuclear emergencies.

CHEMM is a web-based resource that is downloadable in advance so that it is available during an event if the Internet is not accessible. It provides evidence-based information and guidance on a wide variety of topics, including quick chemical identification, acute patient care guidelines, and initial event activities.

CHEMM and REMM are the result of collaborative efforts between the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) – Office of Preparedness and Emergency Operations (OPEO), the National Library of Medicine – Division of Specialized Information Services (NLM/SIS), as well as many medical, emergency response, toxicology, industrial hygiene, and other experts.

July 13, 2011 Posted by | Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources | , , , , | Leave a comment

American Public Health Association’s Get Ready Campaign – New Fact Sheets on Preparedness

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.

Titles include

• Tornadoes: How to get ready for a tornado (PDF) English or Spanish

• Hurricanes: Getting ready for hurricanes (PDF) English or Spanish

• Tsunamis: How to prepare for a tsunami English or Spanish

• Sheltering in place: What you need to know to stay put during a disaster English or Spanish

• Mosquitoes: How to stay safe from mosquito-borne diseases Englishor Spanish






Get Ready: Set Your Clocks, Check Your Stocks

• Get the facts: Why do I need an emergency stockpile? English orSpanish (PDFs)

• Checklist: What should I put in my stockpile? English or Spanish(PDFs)

• Shopping list: What should I shop for? Grocery list (PDF)

• Recipes: What can I make to eat during a disaster? Recipes (PDF)

• Water stockpiling: How much water should I store? English orSpanish

• Pets: How can I prepare my pets for emergencies? English orSpanish (PDFs)

• Budget stockpiling: How can I stockpile without spending a lot?English or Spanish (PDFs)

June 11, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety, Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

NLM Director’s Comments Transcript Rising Expectations for Emergency Response?: 04/18/2011

Picture of Dr. Lindberg

Rob Logan, Ph.D. senior staff National Library of Medicine for Donald Lindberg, M.D, the Director of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

Excerpts from the transcript

Many Americans have unexpectedly high expectations regarding the responsiveness of local agencies to messages sent using Twitter, Facebook, or phone texting during a natural or human disaster, the American Red Cross’ vice president for public relations recently told a Disaster Information Outreach Symposium at NLM.

Laura Howe told about 200 attendees at the recent two-day meeting (and we quote), ‘most of the public now expects someone (a local response agency) is listening’ (end of quote) when persons seek emergency assistance during a major disaster, such as a flood or a toxic spill.

In a survey conducted by the Red Cross, Howe said about 75 percent of respondents expected help to arrive with an hour after a request for emergency assistance is posted to the Internet, or texted via a mobile device. She said 28 percent of the survey’s 1000 respondents expected help to arrive within 15 minutes.

Howe added the Red Cross was surprised by the great expectations of the survey respondents. Howe asked the symposium’s attendees if they perceived respondent expectations were realistic – especially during a disaster when emergency medical technicians, fire fighters, and police officers handle numerous assistance requests.

Howe said the Red Cross and other response agencies accidentally might have elevated public expectations when agencies initiated direct interactive communication with citizens via social media services, such as Facebook or Twitter. She explained an interactive relationship with a public health agency or institution and social media followers might be perceived as initiating a higher level of responsiveness.

Although Howe noted the Red Cross (in the U.S. and other nations) is not an emergency response agency, the Red Cross sometimes is contacted first (via text messages or social media) by impacted Americans (instead of calling ‘911’) during a natural or human disaster. A similar pattern is occurring in some other countries, she said….

In local and national emergencies during the past year, Howe added the Red Cross noticed sudden increases in the traffic on social media sites as persons reported deteriorating conditions within their residence or neighborhood. Howe asked and we quote: ‘where is the tipping point within social media (traffic) that impacts the delivery of neighborhood resources’ (end of quote)? Howe noted the Red Cross plus other response agencies need to better gauge how social media spikes suggest an appropriate level of response – in light of recent trends in social media use and higher public expectations.

In a related talk, Nicole Lurie, M.D., the assistant secretary for preparedness and response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), reinforced the need for improved tools or mechanisms to assess when social media traffic surges reveal a need for an immediate emergency response…..

….’s disaster preparation and recovery health topic page explains preparing for disasters can reduce fear, anxiety and stress. The disaster preparation and recovery health topic page helps you anticipate emergency situations, such as explosions, floods, and volcanoes. Links to this information are available in the ‘overviews’ section of’s disaster preparation and recovery health topic page.

A website from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (available in the ‘start here’ section of’s disaster preparation and recovery health topic page) distinctively provides information about preparing for different types of natural disasters.

To find’s disaster preparation and recovery health topic page, type ‘disaster preparation’ in the search box on’s home page, then, click on ‘disaster preparation and recovery (National Library of Medicine).’

We also recommend’s health topic pages on first aid and coping with disasters……

May 15, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety, Public Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness (Journal Article)

From the March 18 2011 DISASTR-OUTREACH-LIB **posting

Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
The March 2011 issue of this journal includes an article titled,
“Supporting Evidence-based Health Care in Crises: What Information Do Humanitarian Organizations Need?” ***as well as a selection of open access articles relevant to the Japan earthquake. [Submitted by Anna Gieschen]


Supporting Evidence-based Health Care in Crises

What Information Do Humanitarian Organizations Need?

Tari Turner, PhD, Sally Green, PhD and Claire Harris, MBBSAuthor Affiliations: Dr Turner and Dr Green are with the Australasian Cochrane Centre, Monash University, Victoria, Australia; and Dr Harris is with the Centre for Clinical Effectiveness, Southern Health, Victoria, Australia.

In crisis situations, there is an enormous burden of disease and very limited resources. To achieve the best possible health outcomes in these situations and ensure that scarce resources are not wasted, knowledge from health research needs to be translated into practice. We investigated what information from health research was needed by humanitarian aid workers in crisis settings and how it could be best provided. Semistructured interviews were conducted by telephone with 19 humanitarian aid workers from a range of organizations around the world and the results analyzed thematically. Participants identified a clear and currently unmet need for access to high-quality health research to support evidence-based practice in crisis situations. They emphasized that research into delivery of health care was potentially morevaluable than research into the effectiveness of particular clinical interventions and highlighted the importance of includingcontextual information to enable the relevance of the research to be assessed. They suggested that providers of health research information and humanitarian aid organizations work together to develop these resources. [editor Flahiff’s emphasis]

**DISASTR-OUTREACH-LIB is a discussion group for librarians, information specialists and othersinterested in disaster information outreach to their communities and responding to information needs for all-hazards preparedness, response and recovery.
The DISASTR-OUTREACH-LIB archives are available at

*** For information on how to get this article for free or at low cost, click here

March 20, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News, Public Health | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ready or Not? Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism

Ready or Not 2010

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.]

A December 16 item from the listserv DISASTR-OUTREACH-LIB, by the Disaster Information Management Research Center***, U.S. National Library of Medicine.

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.


***Disaster Information Management Research Center

Disaster Information Management Research Center

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

  • 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.

    December 17, 2010 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources, Public Health | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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