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One Month Roundup – All Star Edition

June 27, 2008

I want to close this retrospective by pointing out one of my go to blogs, the Resource Guide for Public Health Preparedness. The folks at the Resource Guide do an amazing job scouring the web for articles, guidelines, proposals, reports and guidebooks relevant to public health preparedness. A one-stop-shop of the latest and best thinking in public health preparedness. As an introduction, here’s what I’ve gotten from their feed in the last month:

Proposed Guidance on Workplace Stockpiling of Respirators and Facemasks for Pandemic Influenza – published last month by OSHA. Their recommendation? Employers with high-risk employees should stockpile respirators, employers with medium-risk employees should stockpile facemasks, and when dealing with low-risk employees, there should be no stockpiling.

The National Disaster Medical System: Past, Present and Suggestions for the Future – published by the Center for Biosecurity at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The article offers

three key suggestions to improve NDMS’s capacity to respond to large mass casualty disasters: (1) increase the level of engagement by the private (i.e., nonfederal) healthcare system in preparedness and response efforts; (2) increase the reliance on regional hospital collaborative networks as part of the backbone of the NDMS system; and (3) develop additional, alternative patient transportation systems, linked to the overall NDMS patient tracking effort, to decrease the sole reliance on DoD long-haul air transport in medical evacuation.

Then there is the DoT 2008 Emergency Responders Guidebook that they posted on May 26th. This guidebook is intended to help first responders identify what types of hazardous materials might be involved in a transportation accident. You know those different colored diamond placards you see on tanker trucks and trains? This is the latest encyclopedia of them. Once, I read that someone took a copy of this guidebook during a cross-country trip just to see what was on the road with him.

That very same day, RGPHP posted on a report out of the House Committee on Homeland Security regarding public health issues and security for mass gathering events. Basically, how to protect 100,000 people from biological agents when they’ve all gotten together to watch a college football game. It’s a little touchy-feely with all kinds of talk about collaboration and stuff, and a lot of the stuff is already in the works, but hey, somebody’s got to say that stuff to make it happen, right?

Then, of course, is the report from the American Nurses Association about medical professionals dealing with ethical issues during times when altered standards of care might be in force – as in a pandemic.

Above we talked about workplace stockpiling of respirators and facemasks, and late last month, HHS came out with interim guidance on stockpiling by individuals and families. The short answer? It depends on your situation. If you’re around sick people, use ’em. If not, don’t.

I could go on and on. And I will, in the future. The folks who published the Resource Guide to Public Health Preparedness are offer a wealth of knowledge for anyone in our field, and I really hope everyone can take advantage of that resource.

Image credit: The New York Academy of Medicine, Resource Guide for Public Health Preparedness

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