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Emergency departments (EDs) are critical sources of care after natural disasters such as hurricanes. Understanding the impact on ED utilization by subpopulation and proximity to the hurricane’s path can inform emergency preparedness planning. This study examines changes in ED utilization for residents of 344 counties after the occurrence of 7 US hurricanes between 2005 and 2016.
This retrospective observational study used ED data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project State Inpatient Databases and State Emergency Department Databases. ED utilization rates for weeks during and after hurricanes were compared with pre-hurricane rates, stratified by the proximity of the patient county to the hurricane path, age, and disease category.
The overall population rate of weekly ED visits changed little post-hurricane, but rates by disease categories and age demonstrated varying results. Utilization rates for respiratory disorders exhibited the largest post-hurricane increase, particularly 2–3 weeks following the hurricane. The change in population rates by disease categories and age tended to be larger for people residing in counties closer to the hurricane path.
Changes in ED utilization following hurricanes depend on disease categories, age, and proximity to the hurricane path. Emergency managers could incorporate these factors into their planning processes.
Although recent emergencies or disasters have underscored the vital role of nongovernmental (NGO) resources, they remain not well understood or leveraged. We intended to develop an assets framework that identifies relevant NGO resources for disaster preparedness and response that can be used to assess their availability at state and local levels.
We conducted a search of peer-reviewed publications to identify existing asset frameworks, and reviewed policy documents and gray literature to identify roles of NGOs in emergency preparedness, response, and recovery. A standardized data abstraction form was used to organize the results by NGO sector.
We organized NGO assets into 5 categories: competencies, money, infrastructure or equipment, services, relationships, and data for each of the 11 sectors designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the 2011 preparedness capabilities.
Our findings showed that the capacity of each sector to capture data on each asset type needs strengthening so that data can be merged for just-in-time analysis to indicate where additional relief is needed. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2013;0:1–6)
Objective: To assess the extent to which the systems in place for prevention and control of routine annual influenza could provide the information and experience needed to manage a pandemic.
Methods: The authors conducted a qualitative assessment based on key informant interviews and the review of relevant documents.
Results: Although there are a number of systems in place that would likely serve the United States well in a pandemic, much of the information and experience needed to manage a pandemic optimally is not available.
Conclusions: Systems in place for routine annual influenza prevention and control are necessary but not sufficient for managing a pandemic, nor are they used to their full potential for pandemic preparedness. Pandemic preparedness can be strengthened by building more explicitly upon routine influenza activities and the public health system’s response to the unique challenges that arise each influenza season (eg, vaccine supply issues, higher than normal rates of influenza-related deaths). (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2009;3(Suppl 2):S160–S165)
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