By Tara L. Newcomb, BSDH, MS, and Ann M. Bruhn, RDH, BSDH, MS
Emergency preparedness is a key factor in reducing the impact of disasters worldwide. The incidence of diasters with large numbers of victims—such as industrial and transportation accidents, natural disasters and super-storms, terrorist and active shooter attacks, and country specific epidemics—has risen in recent years.1 Disaster preparedness is defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as “a continuous cycle of planning, organization, training, equipping, exercising, evaluating, and taking corrective action in an effort to ensure effective coordination during an incident response.”2Incidents involving natural and manmade disasters can happen without warning and in the most unpredictable manner. Millions of people can be affected and survival depends on mitigation, preparedness, relief, and recovery.3 Mitigation and preparedness efforts both aim to prevent loss of life and property damage by reducing the impact of a disaster; however, mitigation includes analyzing, reducing, and insuring against risk. Preparedness is centered on organizational levels that are used to structure management of the incident, including early warning systems, preparedness plans, and training to improve response. Emergency relief and response include multidisciplinary teams from local, state, and federal agencies.4 Preparing responders includes defining roles/responsibilities and ensuring they have the training and equipment needed to participate in response efforts.
* References can be found in the original article via the link below.