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Nowadays, extreme weather and atmospheric conditions are becoming more frequent and more intense. It seems obvious that together with climate change, the vulnerability of the public and of individual regions to the risks of various types of natural hazards also increases. This would increase the importance of organization concerning potential measures to protect against these extraordinary events, and to prepare for reducing their ramifications.
One such initiative is the creation of an early warning system for inhabitants of a given area of a country, to help guard against the extraordinary threat associated with a natural disaster; especially floods. The creation of such a system is aimed at increasing public safety and limiting losses caused by the occurrence of natural, technological, and synergistic hazards. Particular emphasis during the construction of a current system is placed on supporting flood risk management, which is aimed at increasing the safety of citizens and reducing losses caused by the occurrence of flooding in Poland. This would be possible by the identification of areas threatened by flooding throughout the country, and then limiting economic expansion in these areas.
Ultimately, the project aims to consolidate information regarding hazardous events and gather them in a professional Information Technology (IT) system, using an integrated database and a modern module for disseminating information to end users. The system is to provide access to this information for both the administration and the individual citizen.
This article presents the potential of a so called “IT System for the Country’s Protection Against Extreme Hazards,” which is currently being developed in Poland, with particular emphasis on reducing the risks related to natural disasters and minimizing the problems of crisis management in Poland. This article is also aimed at opening discussions and creating a basis for the exchange of information from countries implementing similar solutions, especially neighboring countries, with which joint action could be undertaken.
Disaster Medicine (DM) education for Emergency Medicine (EM) residents is highly variable due to time constraints, competing priorities, and program expertise. The investigators’ aim was to define and prioritize DM core competencies for EM residency programs through consensus opinion of experts and EM professional organization representatives.
Investigators utilized a modified Delphi methodology to generate a recommended, prioritized core curriculum of 40 DM educational topics for EM residencies.
The DM topics recommended and outlined for inclusion in EM residency training included: patient triage in disasters, surge capacity, introduction to disaster nomenclature, blast injuries, hospital disaster mitigation, preparedness, planning and response, hospital response to chemical mass-casualty incident (MCI), decontamination indications and issues, trauma MCI, disaster exercises and training, biological agents, personal protective equipment, and hospital response to radiation MCI.
This expert-consensus-driven, prioritized ranking of DM topics may serve as the core curriculum for US EM residency programs.
The toll of civilian deaths in current wars and conflicts has been building for decades. Civilian populations, particularly since WWII, have suffered most of the consequences of armed violence and today represent the most at-risk population. This is attributed to the rise of religious and ethnic hatreds, the collapse of State structures, the battle for control of natural resources, the vast availability of weapons, the proliferation of acts of terrorism, and the spread of so-called asymmetric conflicts. Protections provided to innocent civilians under International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Conventions have been ignored. This commentary captures the experience of the immediate care and transportation provided to military casualties of the Battle of Solferino in 1859 with civilian casualties recently documented in a Stanford-led study during the “golden hour” after injury in 13 conflicts from 1990 to 2017. Despite many advances in triage and management of war injuries over the intervening decades, the common thread of these 2 scenarios is that transport times and early resuscitation capacity and capabilities, first recognized in the 19th century wars and now accepted as global norms and markers for survival from trauma, are as unavailable today to civilians caught up in war and conflict as they were to soldiers in the 19th century.
To examine factors that influence decision-making, preferences, and plans related to advance care planning (ACP) and end-of-life care among persons with dementia and their caregivers, and examine how these may differ by race.
13 geographically dispersed Alzheimer’s Disease Centers across the United States.
431 racially diverse caregivers of persons with dementia.
Survey on “Care Planning for Individuals with Dementia.”
The respondents were knowledgeable about dementia and hospice care, indicated the person with dementia would want comfort care at the end stage of illness, and reported high levels of both legal ACP (e.g., living will; 87%) and informal ACP discussions (79%) for the person with dementia. However, notable racial differences were present. Relative to white persons with dementia, African American persons with dementia were reported to have a lower preference for comfort care (81% vs. 58%) and lower rates of completion of legal ACP (89% vs. 73%). Racial differences in ACP and care preferences were also reflected in geographic differences. Additionally, African American study partners had a lower level of knowledge about dementia and reported a greater influence of religious/spiritual beliefs on the desired types of medical treatments. Notably, all respondents indicated that more information about the stages of dementia and end-of-life health care options would be helpful.
Educational programs may be useful in reducing racial differences in attitudes towards ACP. These programs could focus on the clinical course of dementia and issues related to end-of-life care, including the importance of ACP.
Microstructural analysis and bulk dielectric property analysis (real and imaginary permittivity at 95 GHz) were performed at temperatures ranging from 25 to 550 °C for ceramic composites comprising a hot-pressed aluminum nitride matrix (containing yttria and trace carbon as sintering additives) with molybdenum powder as a millimeter-wave radiation-absorbing additive. Loading percentages in the range of 0.25 vol% to 4.0 vol% Mo were characterized. For the temperature regime evaluated, the temperature-related changes in real and imaginary components of permittivity were found to be relatively modest compared with those driven by Mo loading. Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopic analysis of Mo grains and surrounding regions showed the presence of a mixed-phase layer, containing Mo2C, at the AlN–Mo interface. The Mo2C-containing mixed-phase layer, typically a few micrometers thick, surrounded the Mo grains. Further characterization of this mixed-phase layer is required to determine its contribution to the dielectric properties of the composite.
The objective of this study was to explore preferred self-care practices among paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) who responded to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack (9/11) in New York City (New York USA).
Design, Setting, and Participants:
Qualitative research methodology with convenience and subsequent snowball sampling was utilized. Participants were adult (at least 18 years of age) paramedics or EMTs who self-reported as responding to the 9/11 terrorist attack in New York City.
Main Outcome Measures:
Preferred self-care practices; participant characteristics; indications and patterns of self-care use; perceived benefits and harms; and views on appropriate availability of support and self-care services were the main outcome measures.
The 9/11 paramedic and EMT participants reported a delay in recognizing the need for self-care. Preferred physical self-care practices included exercise, good nutrition, getting enough sleep, and sticking to routine. Preferred psychosocial self-care practices included spending time with family and friends, participating in peer-support programs and online support forums, and routinely seeing a mental health professional. Self-care was important for younger paramedics and EMTs who reported having less-developed supportive infrastructure around them, as well as for retiring paramedics and EMTs who often felt left behind by a system they had dedicated their lives to. Access to cooking classes and subsidized gym memberships were viewed as favorable, as was the ability to include family members in self-care practices.
A range of physical and psychosocial self-care practices should be encouraged among paramedic students and implemented by Australian ambulance services to ensure the health and well-being of paramedics throughout their career and into retirement.
The Comprehensive Framework for Disaster Evaluation Typologies, developed in 2017 (CFDET 2017), aims to unify and facilitate agreement regarding the identification, structure, and relationships between various evaluation typologies found in the disaster setting. A peer-reviewed validation process sought input from international experts in the fields of disaster medicine, disaster/emergency management, humanitarian/development, and evaluation. This paper discusses the validation process, its results, and outcomes.
Previous frameworks, identified in the literature, lack validation and consistent terminology. To gain credibility and utility, this unique framework needed to be validated by international experts in the disaster setting.
A mixed methods approach was designed to validate the framework. An initial iterative process informed an online survey which used a combination of a five-point Likert scale and open-ended questions. Pre-determined consensus thresholds, informed by a targeted literature review, provided the validation criteria.
A sample of 33 experts from 11 countries responded to the validation process. Quantitative measures largely supported the elements and relationships of the framework, and strongly supported its value and usefulness for supporting, promoting, and undertaking evaluations, as well as its usefulness for teaching evaluation in the disaster setting. Qualitative input suggested opportunities to strengthen and enhance the framework. There were limited responses to better understand the barriers and enablers of undertaking disaster evaluations. A potential for self-selection bias of respondents may be a limitation of this study. The attainment of high consensus thresholds, however, provides confidence in the validity of the results.
For the first time, a framework of this nature has undergone a rigorous validation process by experts in three related disciplines at an international level. The modified framework, CFDET 2018, provides a unifying framework within which existing evaluation typologies can be structured. It gives evaluators confidence to choose an appropriate strategy for their particular evaluation in the disaster setting and facilitates consistency in reporting across the different phases of a disaster to better understand the process, outcomes, and impacts of the efficacy and efficiency of interventions. Future research could create a series of toolkits to support improved disaster evaluation processes and to evaluate the utility of the framework in the real-world setting.
Natural disasters often damage or destroy the protective public health service infrastructure (PHI) required to maintain the health and well-being of people with noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). This interruption increases the risk of an acute exacerbation or complication, potentially leading to a worse long-term prognosis or even death. Disaster-related exacerbations of NCDs will continue, if not increase, due to an increasing prevalence and sustained rise in the frequency and intensity of disasters, along with rapid unsustainable urbanization in flood plains and storm-prone coastal zones. Despite this, the focus of disaster and health systems preparedness and response remains on communicable diseases, even when the actual risk of disease outbreaks post-disaster is low, particularly in developed countries. There is now an urgent need to expand preparedness and response beyond communicable diseases to include people with NCDs.
The developing evidence-base describing the risk of disaster-related exacerbation of NCDs does not incorporate the perspectives, concerns, and challenges of people actually living with the conditions. To help address this gap, this research explored the key influences on patient ability to successfully manage their NCD after a natural disaster.
A survey of people with NCDs in Queensland, Australia collected data on demographics, disease, disaster experience, and primary concern post-disaster. Descriptive statistics and chi-square tests with a Bonferroni-adjustment were used to analyze data.
There were 118 responses to the survey. Key influences on the ability to self-manage post-disaster were access to medication, medical services, water, treatment and care, power, and food. Managing disease-specific symptoms associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, mental health, and respiratory diseases were primary concerns following a disaster. Stress and anxiety, loss of sleep, weakness or fatigue, and shortness of breath were common concerns for all patients with NCDs. Those dependent on care from others were most worried about shortness of breath and slow healing sores. Accessing medication and medical services were priorities for all patients post-disaster.
The key influences on successful self-management post-disaster for people with NCDs must be reflected in disaster plans and strategies. Achieving this will reduce exacerbations or complications of disease and decrease demand for emergency health care post-disaster.
Objectives: Craniopharyngioma survivors experience cognitive deficits that negatively impact quality of life. Aerobic fitness is associated with cognitive benefits in typically developing children and physical exercise promotes recovery following brain injury. Accordingly, we investigated cognitive and neural correlates of aerobic fitness in a sample of craniopharyngioma patients. Methods: Patients treated for craniopharyngioma [N=104, 10.0±4.6 years, 48% male] participated in fitness, cognitive and fMRI (n=51) assessments following surgery but before proton radiation therapy. Results: Patients demonstrated impaired aerobic fitness [peak oxygen uptake (PKVO2)=23.9±7.1, 41% impaired (i.e., 1.5 SD<normative mean)], motor proficiency [Bruininks-Oseretsky (BOT2)=38.6±9.0, 28% impaired], and executive functions (e.g., WISC-IV Working Memory Index (WMI)=96.0±15.3, 11% impaired). PKVO2 correlated with better executive functions (e.g., WISC-IV WMI r=.27, p=.02) and academic performance (WJ-III Calculation r=.24, p=.04). BOT2 correlated with better attention (e.g., CPT-II omissions r=.26, p=.04) and executive functions (e.g., WISC-IV WMI r=.32, p=.01). Areas of robust neural activation during an n-back task included superior parietal lobule, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and middle and superior frontal gyri (p<.05, corrected). Higher network activation was associated with better working memory task performance and better BOT2 (p<.001). Conclusions: Before adjuvant therapy, children with craniopharyngioma demonstrate significantly reduced aerobic fitness, motor proficiency, and working memory. Better aerobic fitness and motor proficiency are associated with better attention and executive functions, as well as greater activation of a well-established working memory network. These findings may help explain differential risk/resiliency with respect to acute cognitive changes that may portend cognitive late effects. (JINS, 2019, 25, 413–425)
The increased risk of mass accidents or major catastrophes taking place necessitates the organization of remedial measures to help protect against these unusual events and adequate preparation in order to minimize their effects. One such initiative is the early notification of residents within a specific area about the risk of a particular calamity. Nowadays, the prevalence of mobile devices enables the installation of various mobile applications allowing for the communication and receiving of information about potential dangers. In many countries there are variously developed systems of notification in place based specifically on text messages.
Currently, new laws introduced in Poland establish that it is the obligation of operators of mobile networks to send text messages to all customers of these networks who are within the area where there is a serious risk of a catastrophe. Such messages are in the form of a short alert, to be sent only in extraordinary situations when there is an immediate threat to health or life. The alert is intended to help in the avoidance of danger or to mitigate its impact.
This article presents the potential implementation of the early warning system based on text message alerts in Poland, and in particular focuses on decreasing the risks associated with natural disasters.
While early text messaging is essential to disaster communications and mitigation, the article further states that means must be found to ensure equal access to the most vulnerable populations and all those, vulnerable and not, who do not have immediate access to text messaging systems. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;page 1 of 4)
Analysis and understanding of the role of hydrogen in metals is a significant challenge for the future of materials science, and this is a clear objective of recent work in the atom probe tomography (APT) community. Isotopic marking by deuteration has often been proposed as the preferred route to enable quantification of hydrogen by APT. Zircaloy-4 was charged electrochemically with hydrogen and deuterium under the same conditions to form large hydrides and deuterides. Our results from a Zr hydride and a Zr deuteride highlight the challenges associated with accurate quantification of hydrogen and deuterium, in particular associated with the overlap of peaks at a low mass-to-charge ratio and of hydrogen/deuterium containing molecular ions. We discuss possible ways to ensure that appropriate information is extracted from APT analysis of hydrogen in zirconium alloy systems that are important for nuclear power applications.
Covering a broad optical spectrum, ternary InxGa1−xAs nanowires, grown by bottom-up methods, have been receiving increasing attention due to the tunability of the bandgap via In composition modulation. However, inadequate knowledge about the correlation between growth and properties restricts our ability to take advantage of this phenomenon for optoelectronic applications. Here, three different InGaAs nanowires were grown under different experimental conditions and atom probe tomography was used to quantify their composition, allowing the direct observation of the nanowire composition associated with the different growth conditions.
In this work, we demonstrate a new system for the examination of gas interactions with surfaces via atom probe tomography. This system provides capability of examining the surface and subsurface interactions of gases with a wide range of specimens, as well as a selection of input gas types. This system has been primarily developed to aid the investigation of hydrogen interactions with metallurgical samples, to better understand the phenomenon of hydrogen embrittlement. In its current form, it is able to operate at pressures from 10−6 to 1000 mbar (abs), can use a variety of gasses, and is equipped with heating and cryogenic quenching capabilities. We use this system to examine the interaction of hydrogen with Pd, as well as the interaction of water vapor and oxygen in Mg samples.
Two Category 5 storms, Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, hit the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) within 13 days of each other in September 2017. These storms caused catastrophic damage across the territory, including widespread loss of power, destruction of homes, and devastation of critical infrastructure. During large scale disasters such as Hurricanes Irma and Maria, public health surveillance is an important tool to track emerging illnesses and injuries, identify at-risk populations, and assess the effectiveness of response efforts. The USVI Department of Health (DoH) partnered with shelter staff volunteers to monitor the health of the sheltered population and help guide response efforts.
Shelter volunteers collect data on the American Red Cross Aggregate Morbidity Report form that tallies the number of client visits at a shelter’s health services every 24 hours. Morbidity data were collected at all 5 shelters on St. Thomas and St. Croix between September and October 2017. This article describes the health surveillance data collected in response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Following Hurricanes Irma and Maria, 1130 health-related client visits were reported, accounting for 1655 reasons for the visits (each client may have more than 1 reason for a single visit). Only 1 shelter reported data daily. Over half of visits (51.2%) were for health care management; 17.7% for acute illnesses, which include respiratory conditions, gastrointestinal symptoms, and pain; 14.6% for exacerbation of chronic disease; 9.8% for mental health; and 6.7% for injury. Shelter volunteers treated many clients within the shelters; however, reporting of the disposition (eg, referred to physician, pharmacist) was often missed (78.1%).
Shelter surveillance is an efficient means of quickly identifying and characterizing health issues and concerns in sheltered populations following disasters, allowing for the development of evidence-based strategies to address identified needs. When incorporated into broader surveillance strategies using multiple data sources, shelter data can enable disaster epidemiologists to paint a more comprehensive picture of community health, thereby planning and responding to health issues both within and outside of shelters. The findings from this report illustrated that managing chronic conditions presented a more notable resource demand than acute injuries and illnesses. Although there remains room for improvement because reporting was inconsistent throughout the response, the capacity of shelter staff to address the health needs of shelter residents and the ability to monitor the health needs in the sheltered population were critical resources for the USVI DoH overwhelmed by the disaster. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:38-43)
Since the introduction of laser-assisted atom probe, analysis of nonconductive materials by atom probe tomography (APT) has become more routine. To obtain high-quality data, a number of acquisition variables needs to be optimized for the material of interest, and for the specific question being addressed. Here, the rutile (TiO2) reference material ‘Windmill Hill Quartzite,’ used for secondary ion mass spectrometry U–Pb dating and laser-ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, was analyzed by laser-assisted APT to constrain optimal running conditions. Changes in acquisition parameters such as laser energy and detection rate are evaluated in terms of their effect on background noise, ionization state, hit-multiplicity, and thermal tails. Higher laser energy results in the formation of more complex molecular ions and affects the ionization charge state. At lower energies, background noise and hit-multiplicity increase, but thermal tails shorten. There are also correlations between the acquisition voltage and several of these metrics, which remain to be fully understood. The results observed when varying the acquisition parameters will be discussed in detail in the context of utilizing APT analysis of rutile within geology.
In the years following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City (New York USA), otherwise known as 9/11, first responders began experiencing a range of health and psychosocial impacts. Publications documenting these largely focus on firefighters. This research explores paramedic and emergency medical technician (EMT) reflections on the long-term impact of responding to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Qualitative methods were used to conduct interviews with 54 paramedics and EMTs on the 15-year anniversary of 9/11.
Research participants reported a range of long-term psychosocial issues including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, insomnia, relationship breakdowns and impact on family support systems, and addictive and risk-taking behaviors. Ongoing physical health issues included respiratory disorders, eye problems, and cancers.
These findings will go some way to filling the current gap in the 9/11 evidence-base regarding the understanding of the long-term impact on paramedics and EMTs. The testimony of this qualitative research is to ensure that an important voice is not lost, and that the deeply personal and richly descriptive experiences of the 9/11 paramedics and EMTs are not forgotten.
SmithEC, BurkleFMJr.Paramedic and Emergency Medical Technician Reflections on the Ongoing Impact of the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2019;34(1):56–61.
Two category 5 storms hit the US Virgin Islands (USVI) within 13 days of each other in September 2017. This caused an almost complete loss of power and devastated critical infrastructure such as the hospitals and airports
The USVI Department of Health conducted 2 response Community Assessments for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPERs) in November 2017 and a recovery CASPER in February 2018. CASPER is a 2-stage cluster sampling method designed to provide household-based information about a community’s needs in a timely, inexpensive, and representative manner.
Almost 70% of homes were damaged or destroyed, 81.2% of homes still needed repair, and 10.4% of respondents felt their home was unsafe to live in approximately 5 months after the storms. Eighteen percent of individual respondents indicated that their mental health was “not good” for 14 or more days in the past month, a significant increase from 2016.
The CASPERs helped characterize the status and needs of residents after the devastating hurricanes and illustrate the evolving needs of the community and the progression of the recovery process. CASPER findings were shared with response and recovery partners to promote data-driven recovery efforts, improve the efficiency of the current response and recovery efforts, and strengthen emergency preparedness in USVI. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:53-62)
When Hurricane Harvey landed along the Texas coast on August 25, 2017, it caused massive flooding and damage and displaced tens of thousands of residents of Harris County, Texas. Between August 29 and September 23, Harris County, along with community partners, operated a megashelter at NRG Center, which housed 3365 residents at its peak. Harris County Public Health conducted comprehensive public health surveillance and response at NRG, which comprised disease identification through daily medical record reviews, nightly “cot-to-cot” resident health surveys, and epidemiological consultations; messaging and communications; and implementation of control measures including stringent isolation and hygiene practices, vaccinations, and treatment. Despite the lengthy operation at the densely populated shelter, an early seasonal influenza A (H3) outbreak of 20 cases was quickly identified and confined. Influenza outbreaks in large evacuation shelters after a disaster pose a significant threat to populations already experiencing severe stressors. A holistic surveillance and response model, which consists of coordinated partnerships with onsite agencies, in-time epidemiological consultations, predesigned survey tools, trained staff, enhanced isolation and hygiene practices, and sufficient vaccines, is essential for effective disease identification and control. The lessons learned and successes achieved from this outbreak may serve for future disaster response settings. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:97-101)