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Italian Avalanche Highlights Ongoing Need for Disaster Planning

Italian Avalanche Highlights Ongoing Need for Disaster Planning

This week’s avalanche in Central Italy, in which 30 people are missing and many feared dead, highlights the need for emergency response planning. ¬†Unfortunately, disasters like this are unavoidable, but it is possible to reduce the number of fatalities and casualties that occur.

 

Emergency (disaster) health management and planning is an area where advances are continuously made. Research into past catastrophic events and the response to them, as well as the development of new technologies and processes continue to improve how emergency teams cope with large-scale disaster situations so that more lives are saved.

 

One example of how retrospective analysis has been used to enhance the disaster response domain was in the press this week, on the 40th anniversary of Australia’s worst-ever rail disaster. The Granville train crash in 1977, killed 83 people and injured 213 others. Emergency response teams were on the scene ‘within minutes’ but poor coordination and decision-making hindered the complicated and overcrowded rescue operation.

 

An inquiry into the disaster recommended that more ‘senior emergency personnel to be trained in disaster management and that more general training in crisis intervention be provided in crisis management for health and welfare workers in traumatic events’. This guidance emphasised the need for preparedness; precautionary measures to be taken before disaster strikes.

 

Future Analytics Consulting is involved in a number of EU-funded research and development projects that focus on improving the response to major disasters, and in particular the health planning considerations associated with such disaster events.

 

The S-HELP project* is developing a decision-support online platform to be used by strategic level emergency managers. The system will enable the user to make crucial decisions, accurately and quickly in a pressurised environment, like a disaster. These decisions ensure that emergency first responders can react more effectively, and thereby lessen the impact of events like earthquakes or floods on public health.

 

In the days and weeks after a natural disaster, the damage done to critical infrastructure such as the water supply can cause more casualties than the initial event. COBACORE is a project that aimed to reduce the secondary effects of disasters on the health of citizens by promoting cooperation between members of the affected community to help each other, and also collaboration with responding professionals. The integration of these groups via the online platform and processes developed by the project, aspired to shorten the time it would take a community to recover from a major incident, and cut down the number of casualties.

 

For more information about our involvement in European research projects please call the office on 01 639 4836 or email info@futureanalytics.ie

 

*If you would like to attend the S-HELP Final Event, which will feature emergency management experts and a live demonstration of the S-HELP decision-support system, please contact martina.madden@futureanalytics.ie