Overcoming Challenges of Hospital Preparedness Plans | Domestic Preparedness Photo: ©iStock.com/kieferpix
Healthcare

Overcoming Challenges of Hospital Preparedness Plans

by Stephen Gibson -

Transitioning from public sector emergency management for a large city to emergency management for a private sector hospital is not easy. The fundamentals of emergency preparedness are the same, but the hospital setting has unique challenges. Each day, there are different numbers of people within the hospital. Some days, the occupants exceed hospital capacity during normal operating conditions. There is no set vulnerable population as the demographics of the population changes hourly. Having a large turnover of people in the hospital because of appointments, outpatient surgeries, visitors, and vendors makes preparedness efforts more challenging.

 
Healthcare

The Early Years: Shaping a National Stockpile for Preparedness

by Greg Burel -

In today’s emergency response landscape, public health jurisdictions across the United States rely on the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) when incidents prove large enough or severe enough to deplete medicines and supplies needed to protect communities. In just 20 years, the SNS – now managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) – has grown to a $7 billion enterprise poised to respond to a variety of public health threats. These threats include anthrax, botulism, smallpox, plague, tularemia and viral hemorrhagic fevers, as well as emerging infectious diseases, pandemic influenza, natural disasters, and other chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear incidents. Although predicting the future of any program is challenging, the SNS has evolved from humble beginnings to a formidable component of national security.

Healthcare

Opioid Epidemic & Narcan’s Unintended Consequences

by Andrew Roszak -

In 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency related to the opioid crisis. Indeed, overdoses and deaths from opioids have skyrocketed over the past decade. In 2017, deaths from opioids were six times higher than in 1999. Opioids impact the quality of life and longevity, as well as have tremendous social and economic impacts on communities throughout the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that the total economic burden of prescription opioid misuse costs over $78 billion per year.

Preparedness

Trauma-Informed Crisis Management

by Michael Ross -

There is a growing industry of “realistic active shooter” drills. Many are focused on teaching participants how to “survive” an event. These drills involve imitation attacks, physical confrontations, fake weapons, and simulated deaths. Some of these drills have led to actual shootings, people being locked in closets or storage rooms, and deployment of tactical squads who were not pre-briefed or included on the drill. These drills do not promote resilience.

Commentary

Preparing a Nation for Disaster – One Community at a Time

by Catherine L. Feinman -

Each year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Ready campaign recognizes September as National Preparedness Month. Agencies and organizations across the United States participate in this national preparedness effort by sharing educational resources, organizing events, and mobilizing action to help reduce risk and build community resilience. FEMA recognizes that, when individuals and communities prepare for any of the numerous potential threats they may face, the nation as a whole benefits.

Updates

FDA Allows Marketing of First Rapid Diagnostic Test for Detecting Ebola Virus Antigens

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allowed marketing of a rapid diagnostic test to detect Ebola virus antigens (proteins) in human blood from certain living individuals and samples from certain recently deceased individuals suspected to have died from Ebola. The OraQuick Ebola Rapid Antigen Test is the first rapid diagnostic test the FDA has allowed to be marketed in the U.S. for the Ebola Virus Disease.

Landslide Risks Highlighted in New Online Tool

In collaboration with state geological surveys and other federal agencies, the U.S. Geological Survey has compiled much of the existing landslide data into a searchable, web-based interactive map called the U.S. Landslide Inventory Map. Existing digital data on landslide occurrence are held by a range of federal, state, and local government agencies, and no central point of access has previously been available.

S&T Assesses Portable Instruments That Help First Responders Identify Unknown Chemicals

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s (S&T) System Assessment and Validation for Emergency Responders (SAVER) Program, managed by S&T’s National Urban Security Technology Laboratory, recently assessed three portable field Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometers (GC/MS) used for analyzing chemical samples. This assessment assists first responders to know which hazmat detectors suit both their needs and their budgets.

HHS Explores Lung-on-a-Chip Technology in Developing Chemical Injury Treatments

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will support tests of organ-on-a-chip technology to determine how it can be used to understand injuries caused by inhaled chlorine gas, a potential national security threat, and to develop treatments for those injuries.

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month: A Reminder to Safeguard Your Personal Information Online

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, held every October, raises awareness of the importance of cybersecurity and encourages Americans to take steps to prevent cyber incidents at home and in the workplace. Whether you are updating your latest social media posts, surfing the web, or paying a bill, it is important that you take the necessary measures to protect your information.