The transition to a new year is a fine time to revisit emergency preparedness plans—both for your agency or organization and for the larger community you serve. These six recent emergency preparedness studies should inform your own planning, as well as your educational efforts within your community. These emergency management trends can help you stay ahead of the curve.
State Preparedness for Climate Change and Health
Climate change is here. It’s already causing fires, floods, and other natural disasters. It can also more efficiently spread viruses, which means the COVID-19 pandemic may not be the last in our lifetimes. A new report from Trust for America’s Health and Johns Hopkins looks at state-level emergency preparedness, ranking state vulnerability to the effects of climate change.
Southern states such as Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia rank among the most vulnerable and least prepared. Conversely, Arizona and North Carolina top the list of most prepared and most vulnerable. Less vulnerable states such as Colorado, Maine, and Maryland are also listed as highly prepared.
How Hurricanes Affect Hospitalizations
The health effects of hurricanes may extend well beyond the immediate crisis of injuries and infections, according to University of Michigan researchers. The study found that fewer hospitals and primary care doctors are available in the months following a hurricane. This can have long-term health implications for vulnerable populations who need urgent or ongoing care, particularly seniors.
Using Churches as Health Messengers
Traditional health messaging relies on doctors and hospitals. Yet a new Mayo Clinic study emphasizes that to get people to heed health warnings, you must provide information through trusted resources. In many African-American communities, the study found, churches are a valuable source of information and may play an important role in encouraging healthy COVID-19 prevention strategies, including immunizations.
The Mental Health Effects of Disasters
The psychological scars left by natural disasters may linger for well after the damage is cleaned up and people recover from their physical injuries. The trauma of surviving such a disaster can have far-reaching implications for mental health, new data finds. Researchers found that the suicide rate increases 23 percent following a natural disaster. The U.S. is already facing an epidemic of suicides, with rates skyrocketing over the past two decades.
The Failure of the U.S. Strategic Stockpile
In the future, many people may remember the COVID-19 pandemic’s desperate hunts for toilet paper. Some faced even more dire circumstances in the form of medication shortages. A new analysis suggests that heavy reliance on an international supply chain coupled with an inadequate strategic stockpile weakened the immediate response to the virus and made quarantine more difficult for millions. Many supplies in the national stockpile were expired. The panel of experts recommends evaluating the stockpile in anticipation of the next disaster.
More Emergency Training Necessary for Nurses
Nurses are on the front lines of every emergency. Yet many feel unprepared to handle various crises. A study based on nurses’ self-reports found that many were not confident in their emergency preparedness training. Just 43% expressed confidence in their triage and first-aid skills. Confidence ratings were even lower in other areas, such as isolation, quarantine, and decontamination (23%); clinical decision-making (18%); and accessing critical resources and reporting (13%).
Preparing with the Right Equipment
No matter what emergencies your agency manages, portable suction allows you to promptly respond to airway emergencies without delaying care or transporting patients to another location. The right machine is a critical component of every emergency preparedness kit and crash cart. For help finding the right device for your agency, download our free guide, The Ultimate Guide to Purchasing a Portable Emergency Suction Device.