Concepts of Innovation and Maintenance in Emergency Management Planning

October 4th, 2017

Authors: Michael Goldsbury, Emergency Management Associate, IEM and Lee Zelewicz, Emergency Management Associate, IEM

This article was originally published in the IAEM Bulletin, Vol. 34, No. 9 September 2017.

 

New Ideas and Old Problems

Innovation and maintenance are terms tossed around a lot when it comes to emergency planning, and plenty of other fields and professions for that matter. An emergency plan might be considered innovative if it uses a new approach, promotes the use of new technology, or borrows ideas from other fields. For example, a recent trend towards managing plans through shared, online storage is one example of a low-cost, innovative approach that is growing in popularity, and increasing secure access to plans. Read the rest of this entry »

IEM and FEMA: Working Together to Save Lives in the Caribbean

September 27th, 2017

At IEM, saving lives is the most important thing we help our customers do. Over the past several weeks, IEM Air™ (IEM’s air division) has been on the ground in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Reliable air operations are a vital part of any major disaster response operation. When disaster strikes, governments and survivors must be able to rely on the availability of air bridges to ensure that at-risk residents can be evacuated to safety, and vital supplies and commodities can be brought in to sustain survivors. Air operations like these are particularly important throughout the Caribbean, where disparate islands surrounded by vast bodies of ocean create many miles of distance between major supply hubs and people who may need help. Read the rest of this entry »

The Rising Tide of Renters – A Vulnerable Population

June 21st, 2017

Author: Gary Scronce, Director of Preparedness Programs, IEM

This article was originally published in the IAEM Bulletin, Vol. 34, No. 6 June 2017.

 

I’m sure most people do not think of renters as an especially vulnerable population, from an emergency management or any other perspective. However, south Louisiana’s (particularly the New Orleans area’s) recovery from Hurricane Katrina, and now the state of Louisiana’s recovery from the 2016 floods, makes it clear that without particular attention to renters who have been affected, recovery of the entire community moves along more slowly. Prior studies have documented that “disasters tend to disproportionately damage rental and low-income housing, which also tends to be rebuilt more slowly,…[1]”. It is an issue that has become more prominent in the recent past and may be a trend we continue to observe into the near future. As emergency planners and managers, we need to take this population into account in our work. Read the rest of this entry »

Zika fight doesn’t diminish with change in Zika status

December 5th, 2016

Author: Camille Hesterberg, Communications Specialist, IEM

While many Americans were recovering from their holiday feasts last week, the Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) was deliberating on whether Zika virus is still a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).[1] Although the decision was made to move Zika from PHEIC to endemic status,[2] this post aims to discuss why now is the time to focus more resources on Zika. Read the rest of this entry »

CBS’s 60 Minutes Features the Fight Against Zika

November 9th, 2016

Author: Dr. Jenn Kruk, Molecular Biologist, IEM

On the November 6th edition of CBS’s 60 Minutes, Dr. Jon LaPook spoke with the country’s top scientists about the fight against Zika and the U.S. government’s efforts to control it.

I can’t speak for others in the public health field, but I was happy to see some national coverage of the current Zika epidemic. At the same time, I struggle with the lack of attention and general dismissal the virus gets from the majority of people who aren’t directly impacted. When it comes to Zika, we need to change the ‘out-of-sight, out-of-mind’ mentality many have now and focus more on public outreach and education.

Read the rest of this entry »

Zika Classified as an STD: What You Need to Know

November 2nd, 2016

Author: Dr. Jenn Kruk, Molecular Biologist, IEM

Unlike other vector-borne diseases such as dengue, yellow fever, and chikungunya, Zika can be spread through the traditional mosquito bite and through sexual transmission. To help stop the spread of Zika through sexual transmission, it is important to understand the risks of Zika as a sexually transmitted disease (STD) and to take proactive measures to protect yourself.

Despite mosquito-borne transmission dwindling over the winter in the majority of the U.S.,  the risk of Zika as an STD will not waver, particularly from the 40 million people that travel between the continental U.S. and Zika-affected areas each year.[1]  This has some people wondering: Will there be a Zika epidemic like we’ve seen with HIV?

Read the rest of this entry »

Hurricane Matthew’s Potential Impact on the Spread of Zika

October 19th, 2016

Author: Sid Baccam, Computational Epidemiologist, IEM

In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, there have been concerns regarding how the storm might affect the spread of vector-borne diseases including Zika. Although local transmission of Zika virus has only been confirmed in Florida, coastal areas up through the Carolinas could experience increased human exposure to mosquitoes as they recover from Hurricane Matthew.

An article published by Adrienne Lafrance in The Atlantic looked at this topic. Lafrance cites research conducted at Tulane University that examined the incidence of West Nile disease in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Researchers found that the number of people with neurologic disease associated with West Nile Virus had increased sharply in the three weeks following Hurricane Katrina.hurricane-matthew-fl-zika Read the rest of this entry »

Using GIS Technology to Support More Rapid Damage Assessments

October 12th, 2016

Author: Jim Weldin, Senior Emergency Planner, IEM

In the aftermath of a disaster, such as last week’s Hurricane Matthew, one of the crucial tasks of an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is to determine the extent of impact to the community. This article will discuss the increasing use of Geographic Information Systems as a valuable tool in this process. By modifying and sharing information with the public, both residents and businesses can self-report their damage assessments to EOCs, which helps to develop more immediate situational awareness of the disaster impact.  Read the rest of this entry »

Zika: Protecting Yourself Protects Those around You

October 7th, 2016

Author: Camille Hesterberg, Communications Specialist, IEM

By now, you have probably heard Zika being described as a public health crisis. Zika does not have a direct impact on most people, and it is not life-threatening like some other mosquito-borne illnesses.[1] Therefore, it is challenging for the general population to feel connected to the issue and to be concerned about Zika’s spread. Understanding what makes Zika a public health issue will help people appreciate how their individual actions can help contain the spread of Zika.

Although Zika may not feel personal to you now, the more it spreads, the more likely it is that you will feel its impact. You may become infected and feel unwell as a result; someone you know may become pregnant, and her child may be born with congenital Zika syndrome (term for microcephaly and other Zika-related birth defects)[2]; or, with the price of recovering after a Zika outbreak being more costly than preventative measures that stop the spread of Zika, you may feel the social and economic burdens of this disease for years to come. Read the rest of this entry »

All Mosquitoes are Not the Same When it Comes to Zika

September 23rd, 2016

Author: Sid Baccam, Computational Epidemiologist, IEM

By now, we all know that Zika virus can be spread to humans through pesky mosquito bites. But why should we care only about specific mosquitoes? Aren’t all mosquitoes the same? Actually, there are more than 3,500 species of mosquitoes, 175 of which are found in the United States, and each one is different. The most commonly found species in the U.S. include the Anopheles quadrmaculatus, Culex pipiens, Aedes aegypti, and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. Read the rest of this entry »