Drone Rescue Executed off Australian Beach

JEMS - News - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 17:32

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A flying drone has dropped a flotation device to two teens caught in a riptide in heavy seas off the Australian coast in what officials describe as a world-first rescue.

Monty Greenslade and Gabe Vidler got into trouble on Thursday at Lennox Head, 750 kilometers (470 miles) north of Sydney.

They were about a kilometer (0.6 mile) from lifeguards who were about to start training with the new drones, equipped with a camera, rescue gear and six rotors.

After a friend raised the alert, lifeguard Jai Sheridan said he piloted the drone to the swimmers and dropped a rescue pod minutes faster than lifeguards could have reached the pair by conventional means.

"I was able to launch it, fly it to the location, and drop the pod all in about one to two minutes. On a normal day, that would have taken our lifeguards a few minutes longer to reach the members of the public," Sheridan said in a statement.

Greenslade, 16, said Friday the pair were lucky that the drone had been nearby.

"We realized pretty quickly that it was a rescue drone, once we heard it," Greenslade told Nine Network television. "It was pretty noisy, so it was kind of hard to miss it, to be honest."

"With the heavy waves, we were sort of going under and coming up for breath and ... the drone dropped the package and we both grabbed on pretty quickly. It's kind of obvious what you're supposed to do with it," he added.

Vidler, 17, told Nine:  "It was pretty heavy out there and we were a little bit concerned."

"It just dropped the life raft and so we just held on to that and just swam into shore," Vidler said.

It was the first drone rescue since the New South Wales state government last month invested 430,000 Australian dollars ($345,000) in drone technology for rescue and shark spotting work in the state's north.

"This is a world-first rescue," state Deputy Premier John Barilaro said. "Never before has a drone, fitted with a flotation device been used to rescue swimmers like this."

Categories: EMS

Powerful Storm Hits Europe, 4 Dead Amid Traffic Chaos

JEMS - News - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 09:37

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A powerful storm pummeled Europe with high winds and snow Thursday, killing at least four people in three countries, grounding flights, halting trains, ripping roofs off buildings and flipping over trucks.

Falling trees killed two 62-year-old men in the Netherlands, a woman south of the Belgian capital of Brussels and a 59-year-old man at a camping site in the German town of Emmerich, near the Dutch border.

Police spokeswoman Jose Albers told Dutch national broadcaster NOS that authorities also were investigating whether the powerful gusts were to blame for the death of a 66-year-old man who fell through a plexiglass roof in the central town of Vuren.

The national weather service recorded wind gusts of up to 140 kph (87 mph) in the southern port of Hook of Holland as the storm passed over.

Amsterdam's Schiphol briefly halted flights for an hour in the morning. Flag carrier KLM already had scrapped more than 200 flights before the storm. Trains were halted across the nation.

Social media in the Netherlands was flooded with images of people being blown from their bicycles, cargo containers falling off a ship and damage to buildings, including the roof peeling off an apartment block in the port city of Rotterdam.

Water authorities in the low-lying nation closed an inflatable storm barrier east of Amsterdam to prevent flooding as the storm pushed up water levels.

Traffic on Dutch roads was plunged into chaos, with the wind blowing over tractor trailers, toppling trees and hampering efforts to clean up the mess. In Amsterdam, authorities temporarily halted all trams and closed the city's zoo.

A man who escaped unharmed picks up his gloves after his scooter was hit by a crashing tree uprooted by heavy winds in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. Scores of flights and trains were cancelled in The Netherlands and drivers were warned to stay off the roads as the country took a powerfull hit of a storm which was set to lash large parts of Europe. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

Categories: EMS

Crestline’s 2018 Ambulance Product Guide

JEMS - News - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 23:00
Crestline Coach, a global leader in ambulance and specialty vehicle manufacturing, released its annual product showcase ebook. The downloadable eBook provides an inside look into how Crestline product is manufactured to be the safest and most durable product in the marketplace. Readers will also learn how Crestline is continuing advances in ambulance safety and patient care through unparalleled designs and industry firsts.

“At Crestline, we combine the ingenuity and craftsmanship of our talented staff with the latest in manufacturing automation, tools and processes to produce and deliver a superior product. Our manufacturing and support teams are laser focused on delivering the highest quality product, on time and at the lowest possible cost, providing exceptional value to our customers.” Richard Valenti, Vice President Operations

To download Crestline's 2018 Ambulance Product Guide, click here: http://unbouncepages.com/2018-crestline-ambulance-ebook/

Categories: EMS

ZOLL 2018 Pulse Awards Open for Nominations

JEMS - News - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 21:23

January 16, 2018—Chelmsford, MASS.—ZOLL Medical Corporation, an Asahi Kasei Group Company that manufactures medical devices and related software solutions, today announced that the 2018 ZOLL PULSE Awards is now open for nominations.

Nominations can be submitted online between now and March 16. The winners will be announced at SUMMIT, ZOLL’s annual user conference held May 8-10 in Denver.

The intent of the ZOLL PULSE Awards is to recognize ZOLL customers who demonstrate commitment to improving outcomes: patient, financial, or operational.

“Our mission with this program is to acknowledge deserving individuals who derive insights from the data they collect to make lifesaving decisions,” said Alex Moghadam, President of ZOLL Data Management Products. “No matter how many dashboards you generate, graphs you chart, or reports you see, patient outcomes and business performance won’t improve if you’re not making smart decisions based on that data.”

 Applicant Requirements

Qualified nominees must be current ZOLL customers. Applicants must submit a complete application by March 16 to be considered. A complete application includes:

  • Nomination of a colleague or yourself
  • Completion of an online nomination form
  • Examples and/or statistics to support the nomination

Award Process

Categories: EMS

Walmart Offers Way to Turn Leftover Opioids into Useless Gel

JEMS - News - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 10:25

Walmart is helping customers get rid of leftover opioids by giving them packets that turn the addictive painkillers into a useless gel.

The retail giant said Wednesday that it will provide the packets free with opioid prescriptions filled at its 4,700 U.S. pharmacies.

The small packets, made by DisposeRx, contain a powder that is poured into prescription bottles. When mixed with warm water, the powder turns the pills into a biodegradable gel that can be thrown in the trash.

The move by Walmart is the latest precaution being taken to cut down on opioid abuse. Around 4 million Americans are addicted to prescription painkillers, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The agency says these drugs are often obtained from friends and family who leave them in home medicine cabinets.

Research has shown that surgery patients often end up with leftover opioid painkillers and store them improperly at home. Authorities say opioid painkillers should be kept in their original packaging and locked inside a cabinet out of the reach of children.

DisposeRx says its disposal packets also work on other prescription drugs and for pills, tablets, capsules, liquids or patches.

Walmart says its pharmacy customers can request a free packet at any time. The company also will offer a packet every six months to patients with a regular opioid prescription.

Painkiller maker Mallinckrodt PLC has a similar program. It said last fall that it has donated about 1.5 million drug disposal pouches across the country and will increase that total to 2 million early this year.

Some drugstores chains like CVS and Walgreens also collect unused medications at many of their stores. People can also take leftovers to hospital pharmacies or police stations.

Unused prescriptions also can be thrown in the trash. But the U.S Food and Drug Administration recommends mixing them first with something unpalatable like Kitty Litter or used coffee grounds and then sealing the mixture in a plastic bag.

Categories: EMS

Snow, Ice Grip the South, At Least 10 Dead

JEMS - News - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 09:27

ATLANTA (AP) — Snow, ice and a record-breaking blast of cold closed runways, highways, schools and government offices across the South and sent cars sliding off roads Wednesday in a corner of the country ill-equipped to deal with wintry weather. At least 10 people died, including a baby in a car that plunged off a slippery overpass into a Louisiana canal.

Icicles hung from a statue of jazz musicians in normally balmy New Orleans, and drivers unaccustomed to ice spun their wheels across Atlanta, which was brought to a near-standstill by little more than an inch (2.5 centimeters) of snow. The beach in Biloxi, Mississippi, got a light coating. And the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill canceled classes as the storm unloaded at least 8 inches (20 centimeters) of snow in Durham and Greensboro.

Even the best drivers had trouble: Retired NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeted that he had just used his winch to help pull a car out of a ditch when he drove off the road and into a tree in North Carolina.

"NC stay off the roads today/tonight. 5 minutes after helping these folks I center punched a pine tree," he reported. A spokesman said Earnhardt was not hurt and his pickup had only minor damage.

Though skies were sunny and bright in many places, temperatures remained below freezing throughout the day in much of the South.

Thousands of schoolchildren and teachers got the day off. Many cities canceled meetings and court proceedings, and some businesses closed. Slippery runways and the need to de-ice planes forced cancellations and delays in New Orleans; Memphis, Tennessee; and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. Electricity usage surged as people struggled to keep warm.

In Alabama, where some places got at least 3 inches (7 centimeters) of snow, dairy farmer Will Gilmer bundled up for the drive to his milking barn before daybreak in rural Lamar County, the thermometer reading 7 degrees (minus 14 Celsius).

Categories: EMS

7 People Remain Hospitalized 1 Week After Deadly California Mudslides

JEMS - News - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 10:15

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) — Officials say seven people remain hospitalized a week after they were injured in mudslides that devastated the coastal California town of Montecito, killing 20.

Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital says that as of Monday evening, two of the seven still undergoing treatment were in critical condition.

Twenty-eight patients have been treated and released.

The mudslides were triggered Jan. 9 by a powerful storm that dumped heavy rain on mountain slopes that had been burned bare by a huge wildfire in December.

More than 500 homes were damaged or destroyed. Three people including a 2-year-old girl remain missing.

Officials say the U.S. 101 freeway is not expected to reopen until Jan. 22. It's been closed for a week.

Categories: EMS

48 Injured, Mostly Children, in German School Bus Accident

JEMS - News - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 10:08

BERLIN (AP) — A bus carrying children to school in southern Germany hit multiple cars and then slammed into the side of a building without braking, injuring 48 people early Tuesday, including 10 seriously, police said.

The injured were 43 children and the bus driver, as well as other adults who were aboard the bus, said Mannheim police spokesman Christoph Kunkel.

Three helicopters and 10 ambulances rushed to the scene in the town of Eberbach, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) east of Mannheim, to bring the injured to area hospitals for treatment.

The bus crashed just after 7 a.m. as it was driving around a left-hand bend in the road in Eberbach. It wasn't immediately clear what caused the accident, but Kunkel said the driver had been able to talk with police following the crash.

A wide area around the accident scene was shut down to traffic as the incident is investigated.

Categories: EMS

Missile-Alert Error Reveals Uncertainty About How to React

JEMS - News - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 09:45

HONOLULU (AP) — When Jonathan Scheuer got an alert on his phone of a ballistic missile headed for Hawaii, he and his family didn't know what to do. They went to their guest bedroom, then decided it would be safer on the ground floor of their Honolulu home.

"What do we do?" he wondered. "Where do we go?"

People should immediately seek shelter in a building "or other substantial structure," once an attack-warning siren sounds, according to guidance the state distributed previously. The state recommends having 14-day survival kit of food and water.

Residents and tourists alike remained rattled after the mistaken alert was blasted out to cellphones across the islands with a warning to seek immediate shelter and the ominous statement: "This is not a drill."

"Clearly there is a massive gap between letting people know something's coming and having something for them to do," Scheuer said Sunday. "Nobody knew what to do."

Lisa Foxen, a social worker and mother of two young children in east Honolulu, said the best thing to come out of the scare was that it pushed her family to come up with a plan if there is a real threat.

"I kind of was just almost like a deer in headlights," she said. "I knew what to do in a hurricane. I knew what to do in an earthquake. But the missile thing is new to me."

The blunder that caused more than a million people in Hawaii to fear that they were about to be struck by a nuclear missile fed skepticism about the government's ability to keep them informed in a real emergency.

"My confidence in our so-called leaders' ability to disseminate this vital information has certainly been tarnished," said Patrick Day, who sprang from bed when the alert was issued Saturday morning. "I would have to think twice before acting on any future advisory."

The erroneous warning was sent during a shift change at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency when someone doing a routine test hit the live alert button, state officials said.

Categories: EMS

Demers Ambulances Selected by MedStar Mobile Healthcare as Lead Proponent to Build 60 Ambulances for Texas

JEMS - News - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 21:20

January 11, 2018 – Demers Ambulances, a North American leader in ambulance manufacturing, has been selected as the lead proponent to build 60 ambulances for MedStar Mobile Healthcare, a high-performance emergency medical services and mobile healthcare system based in Fort Worth, Texas.

Demers Ambulances and its local dealer partner expect a finalized contract within the next few weeks. It is anticipated that the initial rollout of the new Demers ambulances will begin early in the summer, with MedStar-wide implementation of the first production build by end of 2018.

Under the terms of the agreement, Demers will manufacture 60 ambulances over a 5-year period. The agreement includes an option for the development of additional vehicles. To meet MedStar’s specific needs, Demers developed a new Dodge Type 1 short wheelbase model. The new model includes an integrated, under the hood generator that powers a high-performance auxiliary HVAC combo system, which is critical while providing mobile healthcare services to patients in the hot Texas environment.

MedStar Mobile Healthcare is the public utility model system providing exclusive emergency and non-emergency ambulance services to residents throughout Fort Worth and 14 other cities in North Central Texas. Established in 1986, MedStar is the recipient of the EMS World/NAEMT 2013 Paid EMS System of the Year, the only agency to be named an EMS10 Innovator by JEMS magazine and was named the Texas Department of State Health Services 2010 EMS System of the Year.

 “The innovation, quality, attention to detail and customer service were all factors that stood out to our selection committee in choosing Demers as the successful vendor,” said Ken Simpson, MedStar’s Chief Operating Officer. “We are looking forward to a long and successful partnership with the Demers team!”

About Demers Ambulances

Founded in 1960, Demers Ambulances is the second largest ambulance manufacturer in North America, delivering more than 18,000 ambulances to more than 20 countries. Recognized as a leader in innovative products that meet and exceed the expectations of medical emergency specialists around the world, Demers Ambulances is accredited by Transport Canada, recognized as a "Qualified Vehicles Modification" (QVM) by Ford, and also holds the US National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA) Member Verification Program (MVP) certification. To learn more about Demers Ambulances, visit www.demers-ambulances.com.

Categories: EMS

American Academy of Nursing Releases Position Statement on Nurse Fatigue

JEMS - News - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 21:07

Washington, D.C.–– The American Academy of Nursing today released its position statement recommending policies and practices that promote adequate, high quality sleep for nurses to contribute to safe nursing practice and patient care.

The U.S. healthcare system requires critical nursing services around the clock, leading to many nurses working overnight hours and having irregular shifts. The human bodies’ circadian rhythm naturally promotes activity during the day and sleep at night. Long and irregular shift hours, such as a 12-hour work day, disrupts this natural sleep cycle, and has the chance to affect nurses health, readiness, their ability to function in the delivery of patient care, and may lead to more medical errors.

The Academy’s position statement, “Reducing Fatigue Associated with Sleep Deficiency and Work Hours in Nurses,” was published in the November/December 2017 issue of the Academy’s journal, Nursing Outlook.

"The Academy is pleased to publish this important statement on reducing fatigue in nurses," said Academy President, Karen Cox, PhD, RN, FACHE, FAAN. “Many healthcare organizations may not fully understand the health risks for both nurses and their patients from a tired workforce.” To address this issue, the US government’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has developed the online continuing education program, “NIOSH Training for Nurses on Shift Work and Long Work Hours.”

On a broader level, 2017 research published by The Ohio State University College of Nursing in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that depression is common among nurses and is linked to a higher likelihood that they will make medical errors. The study, led by Bernadine Melnyk, dean of the College of Nursing and member of the million hearts subcommittee of the American Academy of Nursing’s Health Behavior Expert Panel, found that more than half of nurses who took part in a national survey reported sub-optimal physical and mental health. Access the study here.

Categories: EMS

Some Residents Didn't Heed Voluntary Evacuation Before Mudslide

JEMS - News - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 09:25

Residents of the area hit the hardest by the deadly flash floods in Southern California didn't heed a voluntary evacuation.

In Montecito, California, the vast majority of people under mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders early Tuesday stayed in their homes, 400 of which were either destroyed or damaged. At least 17 people died.

Evacuation orders are generally based on weather conditions, projected storm or fire patterns and the immanency of the threat.

Oftentimes, the feared devastating flames, floodwaters and mudslides don't materialize. After false alarms, some residents opt to ignore voluntary evacuation requests.

But experts say disasters can change course in an instant.

"Disasters are very dynamic in danger. They can change from minute to minute," said Scott Somers, an emergency management professor at Arizona State University. "Just because an area can be safe at 1 o'clock in the afternoon doesn't mean it is going to be safe at 3 p.m."

Jim and Alice Mitchell, whose house was swept away when the flash floods cascaded through their neighborhood, had not left their home because they were not under a mandatory order, their daughter, Kelly Weimer said Wednesday. Nearly every home on their block was completely destroyed and others were lifted and tossed from their foundation.

"They were in a voluntary evacuation area so they figured they were OK," said Weimer, who has been frantically searching for her parents for more than a day. "They weren't concerned. It's not like anybody came around and told them to leave."

Weimer, 53, spoke to her parents on Monday to wish her father a happy 89th birthday. The couple of more than five decades planned to stay in because of the rain and have a quiet dinner. Weimer hasn't heard from them since and pictures from the area show their home on Hot Springs Road was completely gone.

Categories: EMS

NICE Opens Nominations for 2018 PSAPs’ Finest Awards

JEMS - News - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 23:00
Hoboken, N.J.  – NICE today announced that it has opened nominations for the 2018 PSAPs’ Finest Awards, an annual recognition program for emergency communications professionals now in its thirteenth year. Awards are presented each year in the following categories: Director, Line Supervisor, Technician, Trainer, Telecommunicator, Innovator, and PSAP of the Year.

Since its inaugural year, the PSAPs’ Finest Awards program has recognized more than fifty deserving individuals employed in the field of emergency communications. Winners are selected by an independent judging panel from the 9-1-1 community, which evaluates the nominees based on their professionalism, accomplishments, and service to their communities.

“Emergency communications professionals are the heart and soul of public safety, and the first line of response when citizens need help,” said John Rennie, General Manager, Public Safety, NICE. “Through our sponsorship of the PSAPs’ Finest Awards NICE is honored to recognize these deserving individuals for the vital work they do to keep our communities safe, each and every day.”

2017 was a landmark year for the PSAPs’ Finest Awards with the addition of a new award category for Innovator of the Year, created to recognize a trailblazer in emergency communications. The judges chose Anita Pitt, the 9-1-1 Program Manager for the Brazos Valley Council of Governments(BVCOG) who was honored for her work implementing Text-to-911 in the Brazos Valley region.

In receiving her award, Pitt said: "It has been an honor to serve this beautiful region for thirty-two years. I've been doing 9-1-1 for twenty-nine years and I just love it. I love the 9-1-1 family, working with the Public Safety Answering Points, the men and women who answer the 9-1-1 calls. Each and every day I work for them. I appreciate this honor."

Nominations for the PSAPs’ Finest awards program open annually in January and close in June. This year’s line-up of volunteer judges includes: Scott Rooney, Quality Assurance and Training Coordinator, Columbia County (FL) Combined Communications Center; Shinar Haynes, MBA, RPL, Director of Operations, Orleans Parish (LA) Communication District; Gary Bates, 911 Director, Howard County (IN) Consolidated Communication Center; Randy Beeman, Emergency Services Director/Fire Marshall, Cumberland County Emergency Services; Alphonso Dale, IT Project Manager for the Information Technology Division of the City Of Newport News, VA; Anthony Castillo, ENP, Manager, Emergency Communications, City of Norfolk, VA; Vinnie Puglia, Director, Radio Systems, Las Vegas (NV) Metropolitan Police Department; Daniel R. Koenig, ENP, 9-1-1 Planning Coordinator, Palm Beach (FL) County Public Safety Department 9-1-1 Technical Services; and Lesil Taylor, E911 Specialist, Bay County (FL).
Categories: EMS

ZOLL First Company to Receive Premarket Approval From The FDA on its Full Portfolio of Defibrillators

JEMS - News - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 21:03

ZOLL Medical Corporation, a manufacturer of medical devices and related software solutions, today announced that it is the first company to achieve premarket approval (PMA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to continue to market and distribute its full line of defibrillators in the U.S.

The list of defibrillators which received PMA approval include the R Series and X Series monitor/defibrillators and the AED Pro and AED Plus automated external defibrillators. All of these devices are equipped with ZOLL’s proprietary rectilinear biphasic waveform to deliver maximum current to high-impedance patients and Real CPR Help technology that helps rescuers perform high-quality CPR.

Categories: EMS

In Response to Rising Toll of Active Shooter and Hostile Events, NFPA to Fast-Track a New Standard for Unified Response

JEMS - News - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 20:58

 A rise in active shooter incidents and the escalating impact of hostile events has prompted the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to process NFPA 3000, Standard for Preparedness and Response to Active Shooter and/or Hostile Events as a provisional standard, which means it would be available for use as early as April, 2018. As part of the standards process, NFPA 3000 is now open for input until February 23, 2018.

This marks only the second time in NFPA’s 121-year history that provisional standard status has been authorized by the NFPA Standards Council.

Provisional standards are developed when there is a serious life safety concern that warrants an abbreviated standards development process. The typical standards cadence is condensed so that a standard can be issued in a shorter time period in the interest of the public; and in this case, first responder safety. The tragic trend of hostile events in the United States prompted the NFPA’s Standards Council to authorize processing of the provisional standard.

Although this standard will benefit authorities around the world, mass killings are largely a United States phenomenon accordingly to a recent CNN article. With just 5 percent of the world's population, the U.S. holds the unfortunate title to 31 percent of all public mass shootings. Over the course of nearly 17 months from June of 2016 until early November 2017, a trio of domestic perpetrators inflicted nearly half the casualties that the nation witnessed during the course of a thirteen year period from 2000 through 2013. A shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida left 49 dead and 58 wounded on June 12, 2016; a massacre in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 1, 2017 killed 58 and wounded 441; and less than 35 days later on November 5th, a gunman took the lives of 27 and injured 20 more in Sutherland, Texas. These numbers reflect a dramatic increase based on the 160 incidents, 486 deaths and 557 injuries (not including suspect injuries or deaths) documented by the FBI during the years 2000 through 2013.

Categories: EMS

At Least 17 Dead, 13 Missing in California Mudslides

JEMS - News - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 19:05

MONTECITO, Calif. (AP) — Anxious family members awaited word on loved ones Wednesday as rescue crews searched for more than a dozen people missing after mudslides in Southern California destroyed an estimated 100 houses, swept away cars and left at least 17 victims dead.

"It's just waiting and not knowing, and the more I haven't heard from them — we have to find them," said Kelly Weimer, whose elderly parents' home was wrecked by the torrent of mud, trees and boulders that flowed down a fire-scarred mountain and slammed into this coastal town in Santa Barbara County early Tuesday.

The drenching storm that triggered the disaster had cleared out, giving way to sunny skies, as hundreds of searchers carefully combed a landscape strewn with hazards.

"We've gotten multiple reports of rescuers falling through manholes that were covered with mud, swimming pools that were covered up with mud," said Anthony Buzzerio, a Los Angeles County fire battalion chief. "The mud is acting like a candy shell on ice cream. It's crusty on top but soft underneath, so we're having to be very careful."

Buzzerio led a team of 14 firefighters and six dogs in thick debris. They used long-handled tools to search the muck in the painstaking task.

Teams rescued three people Wednesday, but they also discovered two more bodies, raising the death count to 17, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said. Thirteen people were missing.

The deluge destroyed 100 houses and damaged 300 others, Santa Barbara County authorities said. Eight commercial properties were destroyed and 20 damaged.

Some 500 firefighters and other rescue workers were searching debris spread across a wide swath of Montecito, a wealthy enclave of about 9,000 people northwest of Los Angeles that is home to such celebrities as Oprah Winfrey, Rob Lowe and Ellen DeGeneres.

Categories: EMS

San Diego's Hepatitis A Outbreak Spreads to Utah, Officials Say

JEMS - News - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 18:38

SPANISH FORK, Utah (AP) — Thousands of people may have been exposed to hepatitis A in Utah amid a widening outbreak that originally spread from a large epidemic in San Diego, health officials said Wednesday.

Infected workers may have exposed customers at two Salt Lake City area restaurants and a convenience store, authorities said.

All three locations were linked to a Utah outbreak that began in August among Salt Lake City's homeless population and illicit drug users.

Tests connected it to an outbreak in San Diego that killed 20 people and sickened hundreds more, said Salt Lake County Health Department spokesman Nicholas Rupp. It was the worst epidemic of its kind in the US in 20 years. California officials have said the San Diego epidemic has eased but is not over yet.

Utah officials believe the disease spread as people moved between homeless centers in the two states, Rupp said. Utah has confirmed 152 cases so far and no deaths have been reported.

Hepatitis A is an extremely contagious liver disease spread easily through contaminated food and water or sexual contact.

Homeless people are especially vulnerable because they often don't have easy access to sanitation, Rupp said. Outbreaks in Arizona and Colorado have also been linked to San Diego, he said.

People can also spread it long before they know they've been infected because it has a long incubation time of up to seven weeks.

Anyone who might have been exposed is urged to contact health officials, and possibly get vaccinated.

A Sonic Drive-In and an Olive Garden in the Salt Lake City suburb of Spanish Fork each had an infected employee working in late December, possibly exposing hundreds and possibly thousands of people, said Utah County Health Department spokeswoman Aislynn Tolman-Hill.

As many as 2,000 more people could have been exposed by an employee at a 7-Eleven store in the Salt Lake City suburb of West Jordan. No confirmed cases have been linked to any of the three locations yet. The time period where people might show symptoms in the West Jordan case is only just beginning, Rupp said.

Categories: EMS

Death Toll Hits 15 in California Mudslides

JEMS - News - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 10:30

MONTECITO, Calif. (AP) — The death toll from the mudslides that struck Southern California climbed to 15 on Wednesday as rescue crews searched for anyone trapped, injured or dead in the onslaught that smashed homes and swept away cars.

The drenching rainstorm that triggered the disaster cleared out and was no longer a hindrance as searchers made their way across a landscape strewn with boulders and covered shoulder-high in places with mud the consistency of wet cement.

"Right now our assets are focused on determining if anyone is still alive in any of those structures that have been damaged," Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said.

He said that several dozen homes were destroyed or severely damaged, and that there are probably many more in similar condition in areas still inaccessible.

At least 15 people were confirmed dead, Santa Barbara County spokeswoman Yaneris Muniz said early Wednesday as the search continued through the night.

At least 25 people were injured, 50 or more had to be rescued by helicopters, and an undetermined number of others were missing, authorities said. Four of the injured were reported in severely critical condition.

The search was set to expand with the arrival of a major search-and-rescue team from nearby Los Angeles County and help from the Coast Guard and the National Guard.

Most of the deaths occurred in and around Montecito, a wealthy enclave of about 9,000 people northwest of Los Angeles that is home to such celebrities as Oprah Winfrey, Rob Lowe and Ellen DeGeneres.

Winfrey's home survived the mudslides. In an Instagram post on the same day many Democrats were talking about her for president because of her rousing speech at the Golden Globes, she shared photos of the deep mud in her backyard and video of rescue helicopters hovering over her house.

Categories: EMS

At Least 6 Dead as Mud Sweeps Away Homes in California Burn Areas

JEMS - News - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 16:17

MONTECITO, Calif. (AP) — At least six people were killed and homes were torn from their foundations Tuesday as downpours sent mud and boulders roaring down hills stripped of vegetation by a gigantic wildfire that raged in Southern California last month.

Rescue crews used helicopters to lift people to safety because debris blocked roads, and firefighters slogged through waist-high mud to pull a grimy 14-year-old girl from a collapsed Montecito home where she had been trapped for hours.

"I thought I was dead for a minute there," the girl could be heard saying on video posted by KNBC-TV before she was taken away on a stretcher.

Five of the bodies were found in and around Montecito, a wealthy enclave of about 9,000 people northwest of Los Angeles that is home to such celebrities as Oprah Winfrey, Rob Lowe and Ellen DeGeneres, Santa Barbara County fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said.

The mud was unleashed in the dead of night by flash flooding in the steep, fire-scarred Santa Ynez Mountains. Burned-over zones are especially susceptible to destructive mudslides because scorched earth doesn't absorb water well and the land is easily eroded when there are no shrubs.

The torrent of mud early Tuesday swept away cars and destroyed several homes, reducing them to piles of lumber. Photos posted on social media showed waist-deep mud in living rooms.

Some residents were unaccounted for in neighborhoods hard to reach because of downed trees and power lines, Zaniboni said.

"I came around the house and heard a deep rumbling, an ominous sound I knew was ... boulders moving as the mud was rising," said Thomas Tighe, who discovered two of his cars missing from the driveway. "I saw two other vehicles moving slowly sideways down the middle of the street in a river of mud."

Categories: EMS

Smuggling Boat Sinks in Mediterranean, 64 Feared Dead

JEMS - News - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 10:49

ROME (AP) — As many as 64 African migrants, including a mother whose surviving 3-year-old child desperately clung to her as she drowned, are feared dead after a traffickers' overcrowded rubber dinghy from Libya started sinking in the Mediterranean Sea, officials said Monday.

The Italian coast guard rescued 86 people from the boat hours after it started sinking Saturday morning after it took on water and started deflating, a U.N. migration agency official said.

Specially trained rescue divers leapt into the water to pull dozens to safety, including those who managed to stay aboard the half-submerged dinghy as well as others already flailing in nearby cold waters.

Eight bodies were recovered on Saturday. Officials at the time said the corpses were all women, but U.N. migration officials who met the rescue ship when it arrived Monday in Catania, Sicily, said two of the eight dead were adult men.

Since trafficking dinghies are often crammed with far more than 100 migrants, fears quickly arose Saturday that dozens more could be missing in the sinking. An Italian coast guard search that went through the night didn't find any more survivors or corpses.

Flavio Di Giacomo of the International Organization for Migration said in tweet Monday that survivors interviewed by the agency in Catania said 150 people had been aboard the dinghy when it set out from a Libyan beach east of Tripoli.

"Sixty-four migrants lost their life in the shipwreck (which) occurred last Saturday," Di Giacomo said, saying "probably 56 missing migrants" perished at sea.

In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, Di Giacomo said the dinghy was packed and made of poor quality rubber. Some eight hours into the Mediterranean crossing, "water started pouring in, panic ensued, the migrants all moved to one side, and the boat lost its balance and was deflating."

Some migrants managed to cling to the portion of the dinghy that wasn't submerged but many others fell into the sea, he said, adding that the Italian coast guard arrived quickly, about a half hour after being spotted by a European naval aircraft.

Categories: EMS


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