Navigation Links
Emergency mental health lessons learned from Continental Flight 3407 disaster
Date:3/1/2011

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- When a disaster's physical evidence is gone -- debris removed, shooter arrested, ashes cold -- the psychological effects of the disaster on emergency responders and civilians involved still may burn.

Emergency mental health, a field often overlooked in the chaos, is a vital component of any disaster response, but may not be well represented in emergency preparedness planning.

Trained mental health responders to the Continental Flight 3407 disaster outside Buffalo in 2009 share their lessons learned on mental health preparedness in an article that appears in the current issue of Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness.

Gregory G. Homish, PhD, assistant professor of community health and health behavior at the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions and a specialist in emergency preparedness, is first author.

"We hope our lessons learned will be useful to others to help them prepare for future disasters," he said.

"Although it is a gross understatement, the crash of Flight 3407 was a tremendous loss for the families and friends of those on the aircraft, on the ground and for the community at large," Homish continues. "However, pre-disaster planning, training and evaluations of previous responses help to ensure a coordinated approach to providing mental health services to all of the individuals in need."

The assessment found several key successes. Perhaps the most important was that authority and relationships among responders were clearly identified in advance.

"Each emergency mental health team was assigned to a specific population, and leadership from all three teams communicated regularly by telephone or in person to ensure adequate coverage and no duplication of services," says Homish.

"Many first responders are members of multiple teams in which they play different roles. For Flight 3407, responders chose a single team and had to stay with that team for the duration. This requirement was a lesson learned from a previous disaster, when it wasn't clear which team the individual was representing. This creates communication and coordination problems."

Other positive results were: Responders covered all persons who might be affected by the crisis, including responders and community members as well as victims and families.

Mental health referrals were long lasting and included nontraditional mental health approaches, such as canine therapy and massage therapists.

Also, preparedness includes ongoing recruiting of new members and providing frequent low-cost or free training, which keeps all responders up to date and familiar with other team members. Homish points out that these interactions provide essential skills training and increase efficiency during a deployment.

The report also discusses some areas in need of improvement. It points out that during a crisis one person may need to be assigned to focus entirely on administrative services, such as scheduling and coordinating the emergency mental health functions, to increase efficiency.

An additional recommendation noted the importance of integrating emergency mental health personnel into the overall command structure from the beginning.

"The emergency mental health function was not represented initially during command briefings," says Homish.

"For the first 24 hours, command staff made decisions about mental health needs of the community without having an expert available to provide consultation and direction. This resulted in a slight delay in the delivery of a comprehensive response to those affected by the disaster."

A final recommendation emphasizes that employers of volunteer responders need to be prepared to release emergency team members quickly from their jobs.

"It's also important to note that traditional mental health services such as therapists, and complimentary approaches, such as canine therapy teams, are available to everyone, families as well as responders," Homish adds.


'/>"/>

Contact: Lois Baker
ljbaker@buffalo.edu
716-645-4606
University at Buffalo
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Producing clean water in an emergency
2. Selective strategy recommended for CT scans in emergency departments
3. Developing robots for the hospital emergency room
4. Emergency departments see substantial increase in CT exams
5. Experts urge US to create emergency cholera vaccine stockpile for humanitarian use
6. Small assist device used in emergency case as twin, heart booster pumps for first time in US
7. Fake Marijuana Users Showing Up in Emergency Rooms
8. French society for emergency medicine to publish official journal with Springer
9. Preventive care poses dilemma for emergency departments, Stanford study finds
10. Disparities in heart attack treatment may begin in the emergency room
11. Many hospital emergency department visits could be treated elsewhere, study finds
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Those who have experienced traumatic ... many turn to unhealthy avenues, such as drug or alcohol abuse, as a coping ... released tools for healthy coping following a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend to ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her son James, eight, was out of ... verbally and physically. , “When something upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers Marcy. ... throw rocks at my other children and say he was going to kill them. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Global law firm Greenberg Traurig, P.A. announced ... attorneys chosen by their peers for this recognition are considered among the top 2 ... received special honors as members of this year’s Legal Elite Hall of Fame: ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Comfort Keepers® of San Diego, CA is excited ... To Recovery® program to drive cancer patients to and from their cancer treatments. ... highest quality of life and ongoing independence. Getting to and from medical treatments ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... People across the U.S. are sharpening their ... Award, an essay contest in which patients and their families pay tribute to a ... the 2016 National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Annual Education Conference (AEC) this September. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... OTTAWA, Ontario , June 27, 2016  VMS ... the Company,s Board will take whatever measures required to ... the Company,s stock which is currently listed on the ... S Wexler, Company Chairman and CEO, "We are seeing ... be difficult to understand, not only by the Company, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016  Collagen Matrix, Inc., ... development and manufacturing of collagen and mineral based ... today that Bill Messer has joined ... to further leverage the growing portfolio of oral ... Bill joins the Collagen Matrix executive ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 ... has announced the addition of the " Global ... This report ... provides an updated review, including its applications in various ... total market, which includes three main industries: pharmaceutical and ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: