Bill Degnan's blog

Your Agency's Disaster Family Care Plan SOP

Imagine (or possibly…remember) that an enormous disaster has struck your community.

You can visualize your role in how your agency brings order to chaos. But, your attention is divided. Just when your agency and community needs you most -- just when your years of training and experience is about to pay off, you have other thoughts.

West (TX) Fertilizer Explosion Investigation USCSB Final Report

Description: CSB Safety Video on the April 17, 2013, fire and explosion at the West Fertilizer Company in West, Texas, which resulted in 15 fatalities, 260 injuries, and widespread community damage.

The US Chemical Safety Board has released now their final report.

The link, below, is to a downloadable .PDF copy of the report.

Zika Virus (ZKV) Firsts

Countries and territries with active Zika virus transmission Content source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID) and Division of Vector-Borne Diseases (DVBD) [1]

We've been trying to follow (and make sense of) news coverage about the Zika Virus (ZKA). There are apparently-conflicting viewpoints among published accounts and between subject-matter experts and, naturally, who better to sort it all out for the reader than… me?

Everybody Seems to be First

General-audience accounts of a Dallas case of Zika may need to be parsed carefully to understand the underlying story. The first sexually-transmitted Zika case in the US, during the recent Western hemisphere outbreak in the US was reported in Dallas County (Texas), according to Dallas County Health and Human Services.
[2] [3]

Zika Virus: Best Get Prepared

The Zika virus isn't new. But, it is becoming seen in some new places and you aren't going to like what you see.

Aedes mosquito

Image credit: CDC/J. Gathany

You know those pesky mosquitoes that annoy you when you are grillin' out… or working a wreck in the soggy median of a highway?

Those mosquito's have a history of bringing people such memorable maladies -- such as dengue fever, yellow fever, West Nile virus, Japanese encephalitis, Eastern equine encephalitis, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, La Crosse encephalitis and chikungunya.

Austin (TX) PD Link Up With Super Heros at Children's Hospital

We kind of stumbled on to this, but it is great to see people we know doing something that will be long and fondly remembered.

Austin Police team up with superheroes (and some turned out to be superheroes themselves) to cuff and stuff The Joker and recover the stolen ice cream and stuffed animals destined for sick kids at Dell Children's Medical Center. See how it turns out.

Missiles in the Ambulance

Some time ago… when I was on one of my EMT-I student ambulance ride-outs, I was observed in my usual practice of belting the cardiac monitor and the trauma bag to the cot.

"You dont have to do that," the EMT-Basic told me. The third rider was consigned to the rear-facing Captain's chair. From that vantage it is easy to predict where a 30 lb. medical bag and 17 lb. monitor would end up in a rollover -- or maybe just a quick stop.

"Easy for you to say," I said, strapping it down tighter.

If EMS Won the Lottery…

Over at EMS1.COM Editor-in-Chief Greg Friese has been thinking nice thoughts.

He has been pondering how he would administer the winnings of the $700M Powerball jackpot and has come up with an eleven point list. But, EMS usually doesn't remember the punchline where the booming voice from the clouds says, "Meet me half way. BUY a ticket!" While some personnel may invest in tickets, as their "retirement plan", EMS -- itself is not in a position to buy a ticket. Dave Statter would be all over that story, like a cheap suit.

But, good job. Nice thinking, Greg.

By all means, read his column. His bullet points are below.

If it costs, we can't afford it.

At REHABSECTOR.ORG, we're not spoiled with gold-plated budgets. Our slogan might as well be "If it costs, we can't afford it"

If that sounds like your agency, why not explore what can be done to advance some of these by applying some gratis leadership. If you are leading from behind -- and you look around and think, "Clearly, I am not in charge here", you may need to secure permission, or perhaps, ask forgiveness.

What can be done for free, or next to it?

I'll take on a couple these. The first and third, today.

Hands-on training on escaping violent encounters for every EMT, paramedic and medical first responder.

Who has this training available in your area and what can your agency offer in trade? Can you approach your local Police Department or Sheriff's Office and swap deescalation, open-handed defensive tactics, sound and light discipline, cover and concealment, clandestine drug lab recognition and street survival in exchange for teaching self aid/buddy aid, CPR, medical causes of altered mentation and whatever else you can teach?

Fitness equipment for every EMS station in the land.

Local employers in-house fitness centers and commercial health clubs may have used equipment that they might donate. There are local Citizens who bought exercise equipment with the best of intentions, but now have very expensive clothes racks instead and feel guilty, every time they walk by them. You may find enough donations to start a pilot program or set up your entire agency for the first round. Older gear might be gradually replaced in future budgets -- paid for by the savings that a fit workforce will generate. Things such as reduced turnover, injuries, absences and improved morale and cardiac health.

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