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With the increase in natural and manmade disasters, preparedness remains a vital area of concern. Despite attempts by government and non-government agencies to stress the importance of preparedness, national levels of preparedness remain unacceptably low. A goal of commands and installations is to ensure that US Navy beneficiaries are well prepared for disasters. This especially is critical in active service members to meet mission readiness requirements in crisis settings.
To evaluate active duty Navy personnel, dependents, veterans, and retirees regarding disaster preparedness status.
The authors conducted an anonymous 29-question survey for US Navy active duty, dependents, veterans, and retirees of the Greater San Diego Region (California, USA) evaluating actual basic disaster readiness as determined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) standards of 3-day minimum supply of emergency stores and equipment. Descriptive statistics and regression analysis were used to analyze data.
One thousand one hundred and fifty surveys were returned and analyzed. Nine hundred and eight-three were sufficiently complete for logistic regression analysis with 394 responding “Yes” to having a 72-hour disaster kit (40.1%) while 589 had “No” as a response (59.9%).
The surveyed population is no more prepared than the general public, though surveyed beneficiaries overall are at an upper range of preparedness. Lower income and levels of education were associated with lack of preparedness, whereas training in disaster preparedness or having been affected by disasters increased the likelihood of being adequately prepared. Unlike results seen in the general public, those with chronic health care needs in the surveyed population were more, rather than less, likely to be prepared and those with minor children were less likely, rather than more likely, to be prepared. Duty status was assessed and only veterans were emphatically more probable than most to be prepared.
AnnisH, JacobyI, DeMersG. Disaster Preparedness among Active Duty Personnel, Retirees, Veterans, and Dependents. Prehosp Disaster Med.2016;31(2):132–140.
Electronic medical records (EMRs) are considered superior in documentation of care for medical practice. Current disaster medical response involves paper tracking systems and radio communication for mass-casualty incidents (MCIs). These systems are prone to errors, may be compromised by local conditions, and are labor intensive. Communication infrastructure may be impacted, overwhelmed by call volume, or destroyed by the disaster, making self-contained and secure EMR response a critical capability.
As the prehospital disaster EMR allows for more robust content including protected health information (PHI), security measures must be instituted to safeguard these data. The Wireless Internet Information System for medicAl Response in Disasters (WIISARD) Research Group developed a handheld, linked, wireless EMR system utilizing current technology platforms. Smart phones connected to radio frequency identification (RFID) readers may be utilized to efficiently track casualties resulting from the incident. Medical information may be transmitted on an encrypted network to fellow prehospital team members, medical dispatch, and receiving medical centers. This system has been field tested in a number of exercises with excellent results, and future iterations will incorporate robust security measures.
A secure prehospital triage EMR improves documentation quality during disaster drills.
DeMersG, KahnC, JohanssonP, BuonoC, ChiparaO, GriswoldW, ChanT. Secure Scalable Disaster Electronic Medical Record and Tracking System. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2013;28(5):1-4.
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