Disaster/Pandemic Community Involvement and Coping

  1. Good Afternoon. I want to personally thank all of you in the health care field. You have my respect and admiration. :saint:

    I would like to discuss surviving a disaster. Hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, blizzards, fires, floods, and even a possible pandemic, can occur.

    Who would you call in an emergency situation?

    We all need to establish a support network. In many instances the federal, state, and local governments will be overwhelmed. We will have to "fend" for ourselves.

    This network can be friends, family, neighbors, co-workers or acquaintances.

    Try to pick 10 persons to establish a group of mutual support - Network Partners. In an emergency situation they might be able to help watch your children while you work or they might have some essential supplies that you can utilize.

    In the hurricanes in Florida in 2004, I was without power for 3 of 6 weeks. Gasoline supplies were scarce. Even with all of the assistance rushing into Central Florida from all over the country, we were basically on our own. Schools and groceries were closed several times for the successive hurricanes.

    It was a struggle to get through the day.

    Does anyone have any ideas or any experiences for coping in an emergency situation?
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  2. 21 Comments

  3. by   LMonty911
    good post, Florida!! I didnt want to hijack your thread, but the thing you mentioned about shortages in disasters bothers me. Ive been through a few minor ones (hurricanes and ice storms) and dont want to get caught short again! So I started one about that, I hope we get some ideas shared. http://allnurses.com/forums/f8/disas...ss-205024.html

    One tip I learned was to leave extra time when in post disaster phase- everything takes longer. If you dont have hot water at home, lots of coworkers will be doing like I did- bringing clothes and showering on the spot. I even one time took a crockpot of stuff from the freezer and plugged it in when I was at work, then took home a hot meal, easy! Not having electricity makes things so much harder.

    We have a chain saw, getting out of the driveway after trees and limbs are down is an important first step to gettin to work! LOL

    Do they give you a hard time at your job if it snows real bad and you cant get in? Everywhere I have ever been they have folks with 4 wheel drive ready to pick up staff. What really bothers me, is they dont guarantee you a ride home! WTH?!?!? Like, I'm gonna ask to be stranded??? Even if I took a back pack of food and personal care stuff with me if I had to stay, thats still a shortsighted way to do it, I think- how many are gonna agree if they cant guarantee a ride back?
  4. by   pickledpepperRN
    I've only been through earthquakes. Electricity was only off for four days and we had to boil our water. Our gas was OK.

    Our hospitals generator fell off the platform so we had no electricity for about 8 hours. It sure was great to see the sun come up as we took turna bagging our vent patients!

    I read that in New Orleans generators were in the basement. That was why so many lost electric power.

    There is an organization of RNs who are planning to respond to disasters. Several hundred went to Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas after Katrina and Rita.
    Here is a link: http://www.calnurses.org/rnrn/

    If you get NurseWeek the January 22, 2007 edition has a CE on preparing for a flu pandemic.
  5. by   indigo girl
    I have heard that many states are gathering lists of volunteers for emergency/disaster scenarios. I have considered doing this. It is a good way to get to know who is going to be handling things in your local community.
    I really like the idea of being a part of the solution during a problem. We can do alot if we prepare in advance and support each other.
  6. by   LMonty911
    Thanks for the input, guys! The info about the earthquake issues is interesting, Ive never lived where the ground shakes Dont want to, either! LOL Still, it amazes me that hospitals arent more prepared for the issues that can happen. Like, putting a generator where it can fall off! Duh!

    Yea, the thing about nurses and other healthcare staff volunteering to respond to emergencies is very good, and I think its an awesome thing to do. Gotta respect the nurses that do that. I bet it sure would be great to see the cavalry coming if I was in that situation!

    Thing is. I bet that a Pandemic is the most likely next (or at least soon) big disaster. There isnt going to be any cavalry for that one, since the whol country is going to be going thru it at the same time. So, how do we prepare for that? What are you guys doing to get ready???
  7. by   Lacie
    American Red Cross and the Salvation Army both have sections on thier websites where you can apply to be listed on a registery to be contacted as an emergency volunteer and what you are willing to contribute in that arena whether it be providing emergency medical care or just manning a food distribution area. Also I know when I applied for licensure by endorsement here in Florida there was a section asking if I would be available and/or willing to be contacted for state emergencies such as hurricanes, etc. I honestly beleive any health professional can offer even an hour or 2 to contribute to thier community during these times. Every little bit helps. I was also listed with Red Cross during Katrina to go to NO but at the time of contact they had plenty of RN's volunteering so I did help with food distribution in Mobile for abit.
  8. by   indigo girl
    Quote from Lacie
    American Red Cross and the Salvation Army both have sections on thier websites where you can apply to be listed on a registery to be contacted as an emergency volunteer and what you are willing to contribute in that arena whether it be providing emergency medical care or just manning a food distribution area. Also I know when I applied for licensure by endorsement here in Florida there was a section asking if I would be available and/or willing to be contacted for state emergencies such as hurricanes, etc. I honestly beleive any health professional can offer even an hour or 2 to contribute to thier community during these times. Every little bit helps. I was also listed with Red Cross during Katrina to go to NO but at the time of contact they had plenty of RN's volunteering so I did help with food distribution in Mobile for abit.
    Do you happen to have a link for those sites, Lacie?

    BTW, I never thought of using the vacuum to get the air out of a bag.
    Who knew? Not me, obviously.
  9. by   LMonty911
    Hmmm-we are moving to AR and I just sent the endorsement papers last week- they didnt have that question on them. Kudos to Florida.
  10. by   Lacie
    Quote from indigo girl
    Do you happen to have a link for those sites, Lacie?

    BTW, I never thought of using the vacuum to get the air out of a bag.
    Who knew? Not me, obviously.
    Here's the links

    http://www.redcross.org/services/vol...0_325_,00.html
    http://www.uss.salvationarmy.org/uss/www_uss.nsf

    Lol, yeah I thought about the vacuum to draw air out as I use straws to do the same on the little ziplock bags when I freeze meats to help stop freezer burn. It's cheaper than buying the little machine and it's special bags that's for sure. It works really well surprisingly. I learned to do things the cheap way when trying to pay for college and raise kids lol. I still use every coupon I can get my hands on.
  11. by   cactus wren
    How many of your friends and neighbors even have 2 weeks of food and water stered? Not many,I bet.And do you have supplies for your family?

    At the gov. site for panflu, they reccommend having at least a 2 week store of food and WATER for every family member.Water is the most important.
    And, that is a good START. If the waves last 4-6 weeks, you`re gonna get kinda hungry when that 2 weeks stash is gone.

    Volunteering is a wonderful thing, I have done and will do it, just not in a pandemic.For one,there will be nowhere that isn`t affected, so might as well start in your own backyard. No folks in white horses are going to be coming to anyone`s rescue. For second, if I have prepped and planned for my family`s safety and comfort, whu would I want to go and expose them to a killer?
    That`s what I say now, who knows how I will respond when the monster arrives ?
  12. by   Ayrman
    Though one might expect that the PTB that run the hospitals, etc we work for would factor in pandemics, disasters, etc into their thinking as possible (likely) scenarios the reality is that they prefer not to spend money in areas where they might get away with it. A care center I once worked for lacked flashlights. They had a generator so why would they need flashlights? The emergency lights left a LOT to be desired and eventually we did get some to cover the areas that remained unlit, essentially anywhere that was not a hallway.

    One thing we have to face is the reality that in a true pandemic no few of our coworkers will elect to remain home with family, leaving virtually every hospitals, etc short-staffed when patients are abundant.

    I have practiced preparedness for years - decades, really. Iowa's ice storms and odd blizzard worthy of the name, the possibility of acute water shortages here in the Mojave Desert.

    The federal government urges us all to be prepared, but we, as healthcare providers who too often se the results of lack of forethought, seem as a group to be less prepared than the average Missouri farmer. One has to wonder why that is so.

    Ayrman
  13. by   LMonty911
    The federal government urges us all to be prepared, but we, as healthcare providers who too often se the results of lack of forethought, seem as a group to be less prepared than the average Missouri farmer. One has to wonder why that is so.
    Excellent question, Ayrman!

    I'll toss out a guess: unless you have experienced a situation that involves shortages or loss of utilities for a prolonged period of time, its hard to comprehend that it can happen to you.

    Our society no longer rewards or values "self reliance". At one time it was a survival issue. Now, for most of us in the Western world-its a "hobby"-or viewed that way. I'd venture a guess that many people who practice self reliant skills are looked on as unsophisticated, by those who dont. Culturally, we select against self reliant behavior.

    Did we learn anything from Katrina?
  14. by   Ayrman
    Perhaps because self-reliant behavior is often confused with abberant. I dunno about anyone else here but I don't live in a log cabin in the mountains with a machinegun turret on the roof. Not that I wouldn't like to live there but one has to be concious of the neighborhood norms insofar as decor.

    I know for a fact that pre-Y2K (very close to The Date though) there were docs all across the country who suddenly realized that should the lights actually go out - as we all know they did not as it turned out - they had not even the traditional black bag to rely on for their own family much less neighbors and friends who would look to them for medical care. How many have even a bottle of ampicillin at home to address opportunistic infection should avian flu, for instance, or another Katrina, strike?

    How many nurses have the faintest idea about the practice of basic nursing care, i.e. supportive as opposed to chart checks, IV starts, med routes, test results, etc when it comes to being the primary care provider (read that decision maker) in a disaster situation? Any outback nurse from Alaska to Australia would run rings around the modern American nurse when it comes to being useful under such circumstances.

    Ayrman

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