In almost all dangerous events and incidents, the highest priority of the first responders on the scene is to save lives. The parallel obligation of emergency managers and other senior officials, therefore, is to do as much as possible to save and protect the lives of the lifesavers themselves.
New technologies and greater budgetary, political, and workplace challenges, so what else is new? That is the question that participants in next year's Anaheim "Summit" will do their best to answer while also devising better and more imaginative ways to, as always, do more with less resources...and with fewer people.
In the Old West, the town barber often served as the town doctor as well. The parallel today is far from exact, but the current generation of emergency medical technicians (EMTs) is rapidly learning new and more advanced skills. By using such technologically advanced medical systems and devices, the capabilities and responsibilities of EMTs have expanded exponentially and are likely to continue on the same upward trajectory for the foreseeable future.
Two major weather events that occurred earlier this year will be long remembered not only by meteorologists and historians but by the general public as well. Tornadoes struck the city of Joplin without warning and destroyed everything in their paths. Hurricane Irene was even more destructive - but at least provided some advance warning. The legacies of both will be studied by emergency planners for many years to come.
From time to time, hospitals themselves can be dangerous to a patient's health. That is particularly true when a patient is being transferred or evacuated, and even more so when a large number of patients are being evacuated at the same time. This is precisely why RFIDs, JPATS, and GPS devices are becoming more widely used.
Start at the beginning ... or even earlier. The process for handling potential mass-casualty incidents - particularly when biological hazards are involved - is critical when lowering exposure risk and abating the spread of a toxic agent: Develop comprehensive response plans as far in advance as possible, gather the supplies likely to be needed, and keep a constant track, in real time, of what has happened and is happening every step of the way.
To plan for and defeat the frequently changing threats posed by pandemics (both natural and terrorist-related) requires advance planning, comprehensive training, and stockpiling mountains of supplies, including medications needed to protect literally millions of citizens. But these efforts involve numerous complexities.
A distinguished DomPrep40 Advisor presents his exclusive insider's report on a "Summit Meeting" held in California earlier this month during which the nation's current Hospital Incident Command System (HICS) guidelines were discussed, debated, and dissected in minute detail. New policies that will develop as a result may well affect the health and well-being of all Americans for many years to come.
Lee caused less damage and fewer fatalities, but vigorously reinforced the lethal lessons learned from Irene less than two months ago - namely, that: (a) There is absolutely no substitute for advance planning; (b) Planning must be as totally comprehensive, in every way, as is humanly possible; and (c) That saving of human lives must be at the very top of the priority list.
When a mass-casualty CBRN incident occurs, U.S. hospitals can effectively respond only by having on hand, in advance, ample supplies of medicines, PPE gear, and a broad spectrum of other material systems and resources. But the nurses, doctors, EMS technicians, and other responders must also be prepared - in advance. The lessons learned from previous incidents suggest that that may not always be possible.