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Natural Disaster Rescue Teams at Public Health Facilities Across the Country Learn from Katrina Failures
Date:10/1/2007

NEW SURVEY SHOWS MAJOR IMPROVEMENTS IN COMMUNICATIONS, COORDINATION,

PREPARATION, TRAINING CAN CUT DEATHS, LOSSES

RICHMOND, Va., Oct. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In the event of another major natural disaster like Katrina or Rita hitting the U.S., a repeat of 2005's medical catastrophes and loss of life is very unlikely, according to a new multi-state survey by Global Secure, a leading provider of emergency preparedness and response systems to federal, state and local governments.

Seventy-seven percent of the state public health departments in disaster- prone regions across the country questioned for the survey said they were "significantly" or "somewhat better" prepared to meet such emergencies.

The most important initiatives taken by a large majority of the respondents involved sweeping improvements in communications, collaboration, and coordination between all intra and interstate rescue agencies. A failure in these efforts two years ago was one of the biggest obstacles to dealing rapidly and effectively with Hurricane Katrina, whether providing medical support, handling evacuees, or allocating resources and time. "We are significantly better prepared because of the redundant communication capabilities we now have in place," said LaJean Volmer of the South Dakota Department of Health.

Of equal importance, the survey found, was the need for collaborative planning in advance. Seventy-six percent of the respondents agreed that one of the most valuable lessons learned through direct experience, and through watching the New Orleans crisis unfold, was the over-riding importance of advance planning.

"What really is key is understanding that planning in isolation does not produce a quality product," said Cindy Gleason of the Washington State Department of Health Office of Risk and Emergency Management. "Planning with other agencies puts you in a better readiness state, rather than just an awareness state," she said
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SOURCE Global Secure
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