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Date:1/25/2011

cessed the software, according to Heidi R. Whiteree, DHS S&T program manager. "The advantage of this [program] is it is so easily downloadable, and you can manipulate the variables to suit your own jurisdiction," said Whiteree.

For example, in the case of a dirty bomb scenario, first responders can customize information about the explosive and detonation site to match their own locations. One way to customize a scenario is to select the population density of the affected area. While a crowded New York City sidewalk might have one person every 25 square feet, a small town's pedestrian area might contain one person every 225 square feet. A guide in the software assists users in selecting the population density that most closely mirrors the local community.

James Scheulen, chief administrative officer for the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine's Department of Emergency Medicine, recognized a need for a technology like EMCAPS when he was attending an emergency response drill several years ago. The drill scenario involved an explosion at a baseball stadium filled with 45,000 fans. As part of the scenario, participants were told to plan to treat 30,000 patients. The number struck Scheulen as unrealistic.

This lack of realism was problematic, because without credible estimates, it is difficult for emergency preparedness officials to judge just how many hospital beds, ambulances, personnel, and equipment truly would be needed in an emergency. EMCAPS mitigates this problem by providing first responders with an estimate rooted in scientific facts. For example, EMCAPS relies on data from explosive experts about the likely force and circumference of a dirty bomb blast to calculate the number of casualties first responders could expect in that situation. "It's meant to tell you if you're talking about 100 people being hurt or 1,000 people being hurt," Scheulen said. "Now you have some realistic numbers you can use to go about the rest o
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Contact: John Verrico
john.verrico@dhs.gov
202-254-2385
US Department of Homeland Security - Science and Technology
Source:Eurekalert  

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