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Running head: MEDICAL, VETERINARY, AND SCHOOL PLANNING
Though there are several important aspects of emergency planning, there are three that will be discussed in this paper. Emergency planning in the medical field is important due to the fact that there are the people that are going to help keep people alive and healthy after an incident. Planning for the veterinary field will help protect a valuable agricultural source and food supply chain. They will also provide assistance to the domesticated animals like cats and dogs that are an integral part to so many people's lives. Lastly, children should feel safe in their schools, so emergency planning for schools is becoming more and more important as there are more high profile incidents.
Outline and thoroughly discuss the salient points of emergency medical planning, veterinary plans, and emergency planning for schools. You should break your answers into three distinct parts.
There are many different aspects of emergency planning. As such, there are those areas or situations that may need specialized planning as part of the overall emergency plan. Such areas that one would think of right off are those dealing with hospitals and medical services in the event of a disaster. Others like planning for schools and veterinary services may not be in the forefront but are important as well. All aspects of daily living will be affected in the aftermath of a disaster and if one part is overlooked or not enough attention given to it, would likely impact other areas of planning.
Emergency plans for the medical aspect after a catastrophe need to cover a wide array of services. These services range from first aid and triage at the site of the incident; to transportation of the injured; and the treatment for those affected post disaster. There will also be a great demand for medical services and personnel post disaster. Hospitals will be overcrowded and medical technicians would be in short supply as they may be slow in getting to a hospital or triage center if they are able to make it at all. In addition other hospitals will need to be ready to accept the overflow from the hospitals nearest the disaster.
The emergency medical services provided will directly correlate with how many lives are saved. The more smooth and efficient they run, the more likely a higher percentage of lives will be saved. As stated before, the initial impact of the event will have a huge effect on how services will be carried out. The medical technicians may not be able to make it to the scene fast enough if at all. They may need to take care of themselves or their families first before they can make it to their designated area. Transportation and communication would be affected as well. Natural events like tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes will down power lines and block roads. This is critical because if communication is down people may be heading to the wrong area or maybe into something more sever putting them at higher risk. Transportation routes and secondary routes should be mapped out ahead of time in the event roadways are blocked and impassable. A majority of the focus should be on the initial efforts directly after an incident has occurred, usually within the first 24 hours. After that, “field hospitals” would come into play and serve as more of a back-up for routine medical care. The need for field hospitals is being looked at more and more. In California, the state Emergency Medical Services Authority is buying three mobile field hospitals for $18 million and storing them in Southern California, the Bay area, and near Sacramento to handle casualties from a major natural disaster or terrorist attack. These units can be built to bed anywhere from 200-600 casualties. (McIntosh, 2007)
Although the initial impact will have the most casualties, disease and injuries post disaster will have more far reaching affect. As the food, water, and medical supplies dwindle or become contaminated the risk for diseases and injury increase. There needs to be an ample supply of these products to prevent anymore long range casualties.
The safety and security of the buildings themselves is also important. If the building is damaged, the patients already there would need to be evacuated or moved to another part of the building if a single area is affected. The importance of knowing how to evacuate a hospital was evident in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as many were left behind in flooded hospitals without power, sufficient water, food and medical care. Being on the South Carolina coast, Hilton Head Regional Medical Center has evacuation plans based on different variables. The variables for the 93-bed Hilton Head hospital include patient condition, type of transportation readily available and perceived risk and strength of impending storms. Patients deemed healthy enough will be discharged pending a full-scale evacuation. More seriously ill patients, including infants and adults in intensive care, will be evacuated. (Frost, 2006)
Triage is another important aspect in emergency medical planning. As defined in the book, “triage classifies injuries in terms of what benefit a patient can be expected to receive from immediate or short-term treatment, not the severity of the injuries.” (Alexander, 2002, p. 200) There are two stages that triage is carried out in. The first stage involves those casualties at the site of the incident and giving them priority to be transported to a hospital. The second part is at the hospital itself and deciding which of those are the first to be treated. The information gathered at the scene is critical in making the decision to transport and who will be treated first. Information like the person's age, sex, and injury are critical when the patient arrives at the hospital. The triage differs depending on the type of disaster i.e. natural, chemical, or biological. This is important to know at the hospital ahead of time so they can be more prepared for the types of casualties they will be receiving. Emergency medical personnel in the Columbus, Ohio area have recently received training on a new form of triage developed in the United Kingdom. The new system provides emergency responders with an organized method for sending victims to appropriate hospitals and simple tools for prioritizing victims for treatment. Emergency responders in the Ohio area used to use perforated tags to mark victims for priority of medical care. These tags were like traffic lights in a way with red tagged victims needing the most attention and the green tagged victims needing the least. Unfortunately, the perforated edges would tear off leaving important information separated. Smart's tags use the same stoplight classification system, but they fold over so a patient's status can be updated easily. All 18 Franklin County fire departments -- from Columbus, the largest, to the smaller townships -- have purchased the system. The equipment was paid for with $195,000 in federal Homeland Security money channeled through the state. (Zapotosky, 2006)
Along with medical care to people, medical care to animals is important as well as they are an important resource especially in the economies of the agricultural areas. Reducing the risk to these animals becomes more important from an economic standpoint and helps in the prevention of spreading diseases. Many areas of planning would coincide with veterinary planning like triage and evacuation techniques if needed. It is important for the county or state to know the approximate number of livestock within their jurisdictions. This way the veterinary clinics can be somewhat prepared or stocked up in the event of an emergency. Special response teams are becoming more popular in the Midwestern states where there is a high number of livestock. The Iowa Veterinary Rapid Response Team (IVRRT), a nearly all-volunteer force has 298 members. The IVRRT team has members from more than 85 of Iowa's 99 counties and from five surrounding states making it the nation's second largest after Kansas' 600-member team. Membership is expanding to include farmers, animal health technicians, slaughter plant workers, scientists and veterinary medical students. (Associated Press, 2006) Unfortunately areas such as the Midwest are being overlooked for Homeland Security funding because the higher population areas receive more of the dollars. Iowa has lost about half of it's funding from the year 2005 to 2006. This should be looked at more due to the fact that if the nation's food supply is the product of agri-terrorism, this affects all 300 million plus Americans.
It has been said for years that dog is man's best friend. Therefore domesticated pets like cats and dogs are also a vital part because many people consider their pets as members of the family and would not want to leave any of them behind. These people may go to extreme events to protect their pets and not look out for themselves. Not only could this place people in physical harm but since people become so emotionally connected to their pets, their loss would also become an emotional one. This would compound on the emotional stress already felt from the initial catastrophe.
Protection of schools and institutions of higher learning are an integral part of emergency planning. Due to the fact that these buildings hold a high population of mostly young people, these structures need to be protected. There have been numerous instances where natural disasters have killed students that better preparations and planning could have avoided these events. Local hazards should be taken into consideration when writing the emergency plans for schools. Those people involved closely, mostly the teachers, need to be prepared and educated on emergency techniques. They would, in a sense, become the first responders to an incident. Children will look to them for guidance so it is important for them to know what they are doing. Part of the plan should involve information on the kids as far as when, where, and who they were released to. Connecting children with parents or proper guardians is most important after their safety is secured. In recent years, terrorism has even struck schools. This was evident in Russia when hundreds of school children and teachers in Breslan, Chechnya were taken hostage. Sadly, this incident ended in gunfire and explosions that killed more than 350 people, many of them children. (Associated Press, 2004) Of course, we all know the recent shootings at the Virginia Tech campus. Here, a lone shooter killed over 30 students and teachers. This case has brought up many issues of school security and safety. It has been discovered that although many schools and universities have at least some sort of plan, there are no national standards that cover threat assessment teams or protocols. As stated in Security Management magazine, the FBI has suggested that the likelihood of a threat being carried out can be evaluated using a four pronged approach. These areas include: personality traits and behavior, family dynamics, school dynamics and the student's role in those dynamics, and social dynamics. (Harwood, 2007, p. 56) Larger campuses like universities need to develop a system of notification in the event an incident occurs. Ideas such as mass emails, cell phone notifications, and P.A. broadcasts are being developed.
Overall the three areas in the paper: emergency medical planning, veterinary planning, and emergency planning for schools, are important aspects in emergency planning. Medical services have to be prepared to care for the injured and sick, veterinary medicine will assist in keeping livestock and household pets safe and disease free, and schools need to protect another valuable resource - the children. More may need to be done in these areas and unfortunately it takes a disaster to hit for things to change or at least expose areas of danger, but they are coming to the forefront and changes are being made.
Alexander, D. (2002). Principles of Emergency Planning and Management. Amherst, MA: Oxford University Press.
Associated Press. (2004, September, 10). 10 Terrorists ID'd in Russian School Siege. Fox News, World. Retrieved July 30, 2007, from http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,131843,00.html.
Associated Press. (2006, July 19). Iowa's Veterinary Response Team Grows. Retrieved July 30, 2007, from http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1Y1-95746628.html.
Frost, P. (2006, June 5). Local hospitals secure evacuation plans. Retrieved July 30, 2007, from Island Packet: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-146641660.html.
Harwood, M. (2007, August). Preventing the Next Campus Shooting [Article]. Security Management, 54-65.
McIntosh, A. (2007, April 24). Mobile medical centers on tap: Emergency services agency is buying 3 field hospitals. Retrieved July 30, 2007, from Sacramento Bee: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-162547253.html.
Zapotosky, M. (2006, July 14). Triage plan set up for disasters: Tag system will aid emergency responders in classifying medical conditions of victims. Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved July 30, 2007, from http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-148195674.html.