Tag Archives: response

Emergency Operations Center Leadership

The emergency operations center (EOC) is a decentralized and secure place for senior management officials to maintain operational awareness when confronted with a large scale events or disasters (Walsh et al., 2012). Although these events or disasters may dictate the use of local incident commands at various emergencies throughout an area, the EOC allows an incident management team to direct the overall response effort while maintaining complete situational awareness. This allows for increased interoperability and the availability of resources and a centralized planning and intelligence effort (Walsh et al., 2012). During a multi-state event, a joint field office (JFO) might serve as the primary EOC to support other EOCs that have been activated.

Within the EOC, there are a number of leaders and managers responsible for ensuring an effective response strategy for the emergency that is being faced. One of these leaders is the Area Command Logistics Section Chief (or, “Log Chief”). The Log Chief is responsible for procuring and otherwise acquiring the facilities and personnel to support the response initiative. This includes “resources from off-incident locations […] providing facilities, transportation, supplies, equipment maintenance and fuel, food services, communications and information technology support, and emergency responder medical services, including innoculations” (Walsh et al., 2012, p. 60).

In response to an impending an ice storm in Austin, Texas, in 2003, the city’s EOC was activated 24 hours in advance of the storm. One of the crucial area command members activated was the Log Chief. The Log Chief ensured that redundant communications facilities were available as power outages were interferring with some established communications equipment. The Log Chief also ensured that there was food available for delivery to each small-scale incident as it developed. This was important as the available resources were deployed, there was a lack of available manpower during shift change, so feeding hungry crews was a priority. The Log Chief, on this incident, had many other important functions, but as a responder working in these adverse conditions, it was most important for me to be fed and have solid communications in the event I was to be one of the motorists sliding off the road.


Walsh, D. W., Christen, H. T., Callsen, C. E., Miller, G. T., Maniscalco, P. M., Lord, G. C., & Dolan, N. J. (2012). National Incident Management System: principles and practice (2nd ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett.

Patient Safety Considerations for EMS

 In the out-of-hospital emergency care setting, patient safety is paramount. Initially, victims of trauma or illness are already suffering in an uncontrolled environment. It is this same environment where first responders, emergency medical technicians, and paramedics must operate to stabilize and transport the victim to the hospital, a more controlled environment. Unfortunately, there is little research in the area of patient safety in this setting (Meisel, Hargarten, & Vernick, 2008; Paris & O’Conner, 2008).


Focusing on patient safety and developing processes to ensure optimal safety would allow the study of inherently dangerous, yet potentially beneficial therapies, such as rapid sequence intubation where the clinician uses a series of medications to rapidly sedate and paralyze a critical patient for ease of inserting a breathing tube. Focusing on safety, an EMS department in Maryland successfully instituted such a program (Sullivan, King, Rosenbaum, & Smith, 2010).

With more research in this area, the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) can improve the care they seek to deliver to their patients.


There are many challenges facing EMS as they seek to deliver safe and effective care to their patients. Motor vehicle accidents (including air transportation accidents), dropped patients, medication and dosage errors, other inappropriate care, and assessment errors all contribute to the number of adverse events in the EMS out-of-hospital care setting (Meisel et al., 2008). Unfortunately, it has proved difficult to identify both the existence and the cause of each event (Meisel et al., 2008; Paris et al., 2008). Additionally, there are adverse events that are impossible to track, such as the iatrogenic exposure to a pathogen. It would be very difficult to distinguish how and when a patient was first exposed to the infecting pathogen without considering community-acquired infections and hospital-acquired infections, which are both equally difficult to ascertain (Taigman, 2007).

Strategies for improvement

As EMS seeks to increase the professionalism among its ranks, the stakeholders must acknowledge responsibility for providing evidence-based processes to ensure patient safety.


Meisel, Z. F., Hargarten, S., & Vernick, J. (2008, October). Addressing prehospital patient safety using the science of injury prevention and control.Prehospital Emergency Care, 12(4), 4-14.

Paris, P. M. & O’Connor, R. E. (2008, January). A national center for EMS provider and patient safety: helping EMS providers help us. Prehospital Emergency Care, 12(1), 92-94.

Sullivan, R. J., King, B. D., Rosenbaum, R. A., & Shiuh, T. (2010, January). RSI: the first two years. One agency’s experience implementing an RSI protocol. EMS Magazine, 39(1), 34-51.

Taigman, M. (2007, July). We don’t mean to hurt patients. EMS Magazine, 52(4), 36-42.

Improving Traffic Safety for Emergency Responders

The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is an occupational field wrought with opportunities for workers to become ill, injured, or succumb to death while performing the functions of their job (Maguire, Hunting, Smith, & Levick, 2002). In the mid-1980’s, Iglewicz, Rosenman, Iglewicz, O’Leary, and Hockmeier (1984) were among the first to perform research into the occupational health of EMS workers by uncovering unhealthy carbon monoxide levels in the work area. This appears to have been the impetus for further research into uncovering some of the causes and contributing factors of illness and injury incidents, as well as safer alternatives to current work practices.

One of the more recent efforts to protect EMS workers relates to traffic-related injuries and fatalities of EMS workers while responding to calls and working on the scenes of traffic accidents. As important it is for the EMS workers to be able to get to the scene of an emergency and work without threat of injury, the safety of the community is important to consider. Solomon (1990) realized the need to improve safety in this area and recommended changing the paint color of emergency apparatus to more visible lime-green. Emergency workers were continuing to fall victim to “secondary incidents” at roadway scenes (Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen’s Association, 1999). An analysis of EMS worker fatalities between 1992 and 1997 reveals an occupational fatality rate that continues to exceed that of the general population (Maguire, Hunting, Smith, & Levick, 2002).

Across the pond, in the United Kingdom, efforts were also underway to improve the visibility of police vehicles by considering various paint design schemes, including the Battenburg design: alternating blocks of contrasting colour (Harrison, 2004). Harrison concluded that the half-Battenburg design showed promise as it increased visibility and recognition of police cars in the United Kingdom, and the United States National Institute of Justice was considering research on the efficacy of the Battenburg design here in the United States to promote officer safety. EMS administrations are known for paying special attention to the bandwagon, that is they frequently make changes based on inconclusive and sporadic evidence. This is the case with recent ambulance designs.

Many ambulances in the New England, as well as other parts of the country, are being designed with the half-Battenburg markings applied to the sides of the vehicles in attempts to improve the safety of EMS workers. Unfortunately, we may find that these markings might have an unintended effect of confusing other drivers and causing more problems. A recent study found that Harrison (2004) was correct in that the Battenburg design assisted British drivers in quickly identifying British police vehicles, but the “effectiveness of the ‘Battenburg’ pattern in the UK appears primarily related to its association with police vehicles in that country” (Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security, 2009, p. 6) having little effect on the recognition potential of American drivers.

Perhaps with the evolving data, we can begin using an evidence-based approach at helping the EMS worker perform his or her job safely at traffic scenes.


Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen’s Association. (1999). Protecting Emergency Responders on the Highways: A White Paper. Emmitsburg, MD: United States Fire Administration.

Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security. (2009). Emergency vehicle visibility and conspicuity study [Catalog No. FEMA FA-323]. Emmittsburg, MD: United States Fire Administration.

Harrison, P. (2004). High-conspicuity livery for police vehicles [Publication No. 14/04]. Hertfordshire, U.K.: Home Office, Police Scientific Development Branch. Retrieved from http://scienceandresearch.homeoffice.gov.uk/hosdb/publications/road-policing-publications/14-04-High-Conspicuity-Li12835.pdf

Iglewicz, R., Rosenman, K.D., Iglewicz, B., O’Leary, K., & Hockmeier, R. (1984). Elevated levels of carbon monoxide in the patient compartment of ambulances. American Journal of Public Health, 74(5).

Maguire, B.J., Hunting, K.L., Smith, G.S., and Levick, N.R. (2002). Occupational fatalities in emergency medical services: A hidden crisis. Annals of Emergency Medicine, 40(6), 625-632. doi: 10.1067/mem.2002.128681

Solomon, S.S. (1990). Lime-yellow color as related to reduction of serious fire apparatus accidents: The case for visibility in emergency vehicle accident avoidance. Journal of the American Optometric Association, 61, 827-831.

Revisiting My Goals

When I applied to Walden University, there were some choices that I needed make in regards to which program I would enroll in. I relied on my past experience and some of my current goals to direct me to the Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems (BSCIS) with a concentration in Information Systems Security (ISS), a process which truly motivates me. Revisiting my goals and lending them power to help navigate the world of academia, I needed to ensure that these goals still held true. The first assignment in the Introduction to Information Systems class afforded me the opportunity to do just that, while this assignment will allow me to review my goals once again.

My affinity towards positive social change (Schadone, 2009) is unwaivering, as is my desire to achieve a position in the field of disaster management. I do feel, however, that my chosen degree program is ill-prescribed to prepare me for such ambitions. Though there has been a great incentive to involve the engineering sciences into public policy administration (Connolly, 2009), my experience with the BSCIS degree, even with the ISS concentration, leads me to believe that the curriculum does not satisfy my current needs or goals. I do believe that a career in Information Systems Security would provide an opportunity to reach many of my goals, but other academic directions would provide a more solid foundation for me to build upon.

As of this writing, I have decided to research other avenues of academia which might be better suited to providing the core educational opportunities that would benefit me the most. I have decided that the B.S. in Health Studies with a concentration in Health Administration would be a better fit at this time. I hope to use this degree to propel me forward into an opportunity to earn an MPH with a concentration in Emergency Management and, ultimately, a Ph. D. in the same.

As the H1N1 influenza virus reminds us all about the 1918 “Spanish Flu,” there is an undertone of personal responsibility and preparedness in the event of a pandemic (Bornstein & Trapp, 2009), of which conditions are favorable. I plan to take personal responsibility in this and other potential disasters to position myself as an expert in the field helping to promote plans and policies to mitigate and respond effectively to such incidences. Though, I am versed in the computer sciences, I feel that my position as a health official would be better utilized in these times of crisis. Perhaps one day in the future I will return my focus on computing, but until then, my social conscience and sense of community seem to be my only defining factors.


Bornstein, J., & Trapp, J. (2009, June). Pandemic Preparedness: Ensuring Our Best Are Ready to Respond. IAEM Bulletin, 26(6), pp. 6, 14. Retrieved August 22, 2009, from http://www.iaem.com

Connolly, J. (2008, September). Bridging the gap between engineering and public policy: A closer look at the WISE program. Mechanical Advantage, 19. Retrieved August 22, 2009, from http://www.asme.org

Schadone, M. F. (2009). Information Systems and Me: My Professional and Career Goals. Minneapolis, MN: Walden University.

“Disaster Response and Management – IT” (DRAM-IT)

With the growing focus of disaster mitigation, response and recovery, companies that rely on information systems need to prevent and minimize the impact of disasters (whether natural or man-made) to their infrastructure. Society’s focus is to regain a sense of normalcy which requires a functioning economy, thereby increasing the need for companies to recover quickly.

By providing expert philosophies, procedures, systems and tools, DRAM-IT can ensure that the client will transition seamlessly from pre-disaster to post-disaster with no negative long-term effects.

We start with employee-focused health, safety and security. We believe that the employee is the first defense against failure. Employees should be healthy and not have their minds occupied by other domestic problems (e.g. family welfare) which is why in times of a disaster affecting the community, we contract with armed security agencies to provide force security for key employees and their families. This focus allows other employees to take care of their own before returning to work. The same security force will provide on-site perimeter security allowing employees to feel safe while aiding in recovery efforts. But, before the incident occurs, we will create processes to assist each employee in staying healthy and fit, both physically and mentally, including the creation of medical response teams to manage on-site medical emergencies until EMS can arrive.

Data loss can be immeasurable and therefore cannot be tolerated. After performing a forensic analysis of current IT practices, DRAM-IT will offer methods of securing data with redundant distributed arrays with cryptographic and hashing intelligence ensuring the data has not been and cannot be manipulated. Along with distributed storage, we can offer distributed processing to ensure the business keeps running without a need for direct input by employees.

During a disaster, the focus needs to be on initiating recovery processes and requires interfacing with local authorities to be part of the solution. We will provide the internal Incident Command structure which will integrate with the local, State, and Federal efforts to ensure pooling of resources. We are also committed to the community. The faster the individual entities of a community can recover, the faster the community as a whole can heal.

With DRAM-IT Systems Mitigation, Response and Recovery, we can ensure that you can concentrate on what is important… we’ll take care of the rest.

By providing an all-encompassing approach to disaster management, our clients can be assured of continuous critical systems processing, ensuring business continuity throughout the disaster.

Table Title: Examples of Structure and IT needs
Functional Area (See Figure 7.23) Supporting Information Systems (See Figure 1.6)
Example: Human Resource Management Example: Transaction Processing Systems
Command Executive Information Systems
Operations Decision Support & Strategic Info Systems
Tactical Knowledge Management & Expert Systems
Logistics Specialized / Transaction Control Systems
Finance Specialied / Transaction Control Systems

Subject: Investment Opportunity – “Disaster Response and Management – IT (DRAM-IT)” 02/25/14
To Whom it May Concern

I am writing you as an entrepreneur in support of the community. We have faced a number of disasters recently and our economy continuously suffers. I hope to provide a host of services to companies which are key to the community infrastructure. My goal is to be able to assist these key companies in recovering from the disaster internally and allowing the economy a maximized benefit in a minimal amount of time.

As a critical care paramedic who has worked with FEMA response teams in the past years, I have the experience and education to know what is crucially important during a disaster. As a computer programmer and IT professional, I know how to apply my knowledge to critical business systems ensuring a smooth transition during the various phases of a disaster, whether large or small, internal or external.

I wish to be able to provide mitigation training, on-site employee health programs, redundant communications, secure data storage and retrieval with distributive data processing, personal and protective security and adaptive processes and philosophies that can overcome even the most destructive of forces. We will initially be focused on consulting with the promotion of best-practices in mind. During the disaster phase, we will respond directly as Incident Command Teams that will be fully self-sufficient for over 72-hours to ensure the response and recovery are as smooth as possible.

The unfortunate reality is that this endeavor will require a large amount of start-up capital. We must first hire and train appropriate personnel who can then consult to client companies and ensure they can operate effectively during and after a disaster. We also need access to distributive networks with which to operate. These will undoubtedly be fee-based services, but initial investments of processor-time and storage would be invaluable. Investing in this opportunity is investing in the community.


Michael Schadone

Academic Goals

Settling on a degree program among the vast array of choices available has been a goal of mine for a very long time. Many people that I know always assume that I have already obtained a degree, no matter how many times I tell them the opposite. They are always surprised by this. Fortunately, soon after graduating high school, I found a career where I excel, and it has always brought me financial stability and the variety which I crave; therefore, I have never felt a professional need to further my academics in my current field.

Obtaining a degree, in my mind, is a personal goal that lends to the creation of academic and professional goals, both short and long-term. I only have one long-term personal goal: leave a positive mark on the society in which I live. This creates a positive personal growth atmosphere where I feel that I can accomplish any task worth undertaking. This is where I start my journey in academia.

The educational choices presented to me were quite diverse, and I was fortunate enough to have the time to weigh the various options. One of the issues that I considered heavily is the motivation of the institutions in their recruitment processes. More students certainly equates to more money, and I do not fault any business for making money. In contrast, I needed to find an institution that promoted other values as well, specifically societal values. Walden University’s values of promoting and affecting positive social change are admirable to say the least. This agrees with my values and coincides with my goal of leaving that positive mark on society. This is why I chose Walden University for my academic growth.

One of my long-term professional goals is to gain a position to be able to help rescue and rebuild in the face of disaster. Today’s society relies heavily on the free flow of information, and in the event of disaster, improving the stream of this data is crucial to the economic prosperity of the affected region. I chose to enroll in the Computer Information Systems program and specialize in forensics to better understand the specifics in disaster-related network response. This will allow me to help more people when they need help the most.

To use a long held standard, “The best way to do is to teach many to do.” So that I may do the most good, I wish to eventually become an expert in my field and teach others in the profession. Thus, my long-term academic goal is to obtain my Ph. D. to further the research and to continue to formulate best practices of recovery in disastrous situations.