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Protecting Emergency Responders, Volume 3

May 2004
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2004-144
cover of 2004-144

Cover design by Stephen Bloodsworth
Cover photograph © Mark M. Lawrence/CORBIS

Every day across the nation, emergencies occur that threaten our lives, well-being, property, peace, and security. Every day, we rely upon our local police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, public health professionals, and others to arrive quickly and do what needs to be done to restore the safety, the security, the peace, and the routine to our lives...

When a disaster, whether natural or manmade, overwhelms the resources and capabilities of local organizations, responders come in from other cities, counties, and states-jurisdictions near and far-as well as from federal agencies, to assist those with local responsibility... One characteristic of these large, rare, dynamic events is the rapidly evolving complexity that faces individuals trying to effectively manage all of the organizations and people, operations and tasks, equipment and supplies, communications, and the safety and health of all involved...

This report addresses the protection of emergency responders against injury, illness, and death on just such rare occasions, when emergencies become disasters... This report focuses on preparedness (especially planning and training) and management as means of controlling and reducing the hazards emergency responders face. It provides a set of recommendations on how disaster site safety and health management might be improved...

This report builds on systems and practices currently in use and was developed primarily for use by local emergency responders, those individuals and organizations who have been tasked with disaster site safety and health responsibilities. Additionally, the report should prove useful to legislators and other federal, state, county, and municipal officials; trade union officials; industry executives; safety and health professionals; and researchers who are engaged in and committed to efforts to make our nation more secure, to respond effectively and safely to disaster, and to protect a critically important resource-the community of emergency responders. (from the Foreword)

The research described in this report was a joint effort of the Science and Technology Policy Institute (operated by RAND from 1992-November 2003 under Contract ENG-9812731) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Disclaimer

Mention of any company name or product does not constitute endorsement by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health or RAND.

This document is in the public domain and may be freely copied or reprinted.

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