The Beacon Volume: 4 Issue: 1 Dated: November/December 2001 Pages: 1-6
This newsletter focuses on stress management for first responders, a HazMat triage system, physician involvement in weapons of mass destruction (WMD) preparedness, an information-sharing mail site for preparing for WMD, and assistance programs for WMD terrorism-related information.
The manner in which first responders unwind after a day of work affects them now and in the future. If the body is unable to maintain its natural status or normalcy, the results are high blood pressure, heart problems, stomach difficulties, sleep pattern disruptions, and strains on personal relationships. Suggestions for stress relieving needs are aerobic exercise, flexibility or stretching of body, strength, and exercising of the mind, such as reading or studying something new. HazMat Purple can be a useful tool in planning for incidents. An area where a breakdown can occur in the initial triage in a combined mass casualty and HazMat incident is the contamination of the non-contaminated patients, rescue personnel, and equipment. The S.T.A.R.T. method (Simple Triage and Rapid Treatment) includes Red, Yellow, Green, and Black priorities. The colors Purple, Light Blue, and White could be added for HazMat incidents to tag all confirmed or suspected contaminated patients, personnel, and equipment. The barriers to physician involvement in WMD include being unaware of the extent of the threat, and tending to stay within their areas of expertise. The East Baton Rouge Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness established a committee to educate physicians on WMD. To get physicians to attend a seminar, they established that it was an important event, planned it at a convenient location and time for physicians, promoted it to the Medical Society, and presented excellent information on WMD. As a result, a subcommittee of physicians has been formed, nurse training is being promoted, and plans are being made to build on the success of the seminar. WMDinforshare is a new information-sharing mail site that allows discussion on preparing for and managing acts of terrorism involving WMD. The Common Communications Link serves as a national standard for WMD preparedness communications and information sharing efforts, as well as the National Domestic Preparedness Office (NDPO) Helpline, special bulletins, newsletter, and information bulletins.
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