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The Dreaded One-Liner Post, Part II

May 25, 2010

So, I’ve only done this once before. It’s one of those things, I miss a couple of days of blog posts, but keep finding good stuff — stuff I want to write about. And then all of a sudden there are thirty or more things that I want to write about, and it’s quite overwhelming. So I figure I’ll do it tomorrow, except that tomorrow there are two more things I want to write about. And on and on and on.

In short, sorry I’ve been away. So, here’s the deal. Here’s the best of what I’ve read over the last three weeks in no particular order.

First the Twitter links:

Bill MacKay has a great collection of links on his Google Reader feed here.

Population Behaviors in Dirty Bomb Attack Scenarios: A Survey of the National Capital Region (PDF) from VDEM posted by Mike Ellis.

Jen McCabe of Contagion Health forwarded an article from the Wall Street Journal on Google Flu Trends and how well it works at predicting flu cases. This makes sense as Google Flu Trends looks for interest in a particular subject. Granted, interest in this particular subject tends to peak as more people get sick from flu. While not exact, it’s a useful proxy for flu, though no one should make the mistake of thinking that interest (and the resulting searches) equals sickness.

Finally, public health blogger extraordinaire Andre Blackman passed along these two links demonstrating public health emergency response in action. First, the CDC. And then the EPA.

Next the RSS/blogs links:

Rick Wimberly & Lorin Bristow, writing for the Emergency Management Magazine blog, Alerts and Notifications, discuss the need to keep special populations (which I’ve heard referred to as special, vulnerable, hard-to-reach, underserved and functional — all in the last two weeks) in mind when purchasing alerting systems, and then also again when developing alerts. The post can be found here.

Another one from the stable of Emergency Management Magazine blogs, this time from my hero Gerald Baron, of the Crisis Comm blog. In this post, the lesson from which I find myself learning over and over again during exercises, Gerald balances the responders and the plans and looks for which is more crucial to success. For all of the time we spend writing these plans, you think we’d know our own people better — or at least invest in them so they could get better. At that point, the plan becomes little more than a roadmap.

The good folks down in the Mississippi Hospital Association’s Office of Emergency Preparedness passed along an article from the American Journal of Infection Control on the need to develop more studies on the efficacy and utility of non-pharmaceutical interventions. There is evidence from H1N1 that implementation of those interventions was useful to some degree, and more information is needed to find out just how useful.

Bruce Schneier, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite security bloggers, had a great post discussing why there aren’t more terrorist attacks. His take is that terrorism is actually really hard to do. Add on top of that the fact that there just aren’t that many people willing to blow themselves up and the chances of something happening become really small. He notes that lone crazies, like the OKC bombing, IRS plane guy, or the anthrax mailer, are much more likely to be our problem.

I’ve got two from my great friend in NYC, John Solomon of the In Case of Emergency, Read blog. First he had a great post on the terminology used in disaster situations. Was Hurricane Katrina a natural disaster, or a man-made disaster, or just a disaster? It might not seem like much, but looking at the varying levels of media coverage of recent disasters (Nashville flooding, Times Square attempted bombing, and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill), it’s easy to see the difference. The one that caused the greatest loss of life got the least amount of coverage. The one that caused the smallest loss of life (zero) got the most amount of coverage (though that’s since changed due to the longevity of the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe). Terms mean something, be careful which you use. The second post from John is about an article out of Harvard about the public response to H1N1 influenza. The most satisfying snip?

Throughout the H1N1 pandemic, more than half the U.S. population appeared to have a positive impression of the government’s response, although a sizable minority did not. For example, in the early days of the pandemic, 54% believed the response of the federal government was appropriate, whereas 39% believed the government had overreacted (CNN, May 2009). Nine months later, in January 2010, 59% believed that public health officials did an excellent or good job in their overall response to the pandemic, whereas 39% believed they did a fair or poor job (HSPH, January 2010)…

The article itself is quite interesting, too, and can be found here.

Jonathan Bernstein, the crisis management guru, has a potentially useful article in his latest Crisis Manager newsletter about the 10 questions you should ask your media trainer (I recently had the opportunity to hear a local media trainer in an exercise and came away totally impressed. I’m not sure she could handle all of Bernstein’s questions, but could totally handle some of them).

Finally, the folks at the always interesting Naval Postgraduate School for Homeland Defense and Security’s Homeland Security Digital Library posted on the public release of emergency triage guidelines written by the State of Utah. The reasoning behind the release is a belief within the State that the public should have a chance to engage and shape the mores and guidelines that they ultimately will live or die by. A truly novel idea, I’m sure. And a smart one. Kudos to the folks in Utah.

Alright, that’s all for now. I’ve got a couple of posts that I’m really interested in coming up — hopefully sooner rather than later.

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