Health hazard evaluation of police officers and firefighters after Hurricane Katrina - New Orleans, Louisiana, October 17-28 and November 30-December 5, 2005.
Bernard-BP; Driscoll-RJ; Kitt-M; West-CA; Tak-S
MMWR 2006 Apr; 55(16):456-458
In the weeks after Hurricane Katrina struck the U.S. Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005, reports of increased injuries and symptoms of physical illness and psychological strain among New Orleans police officers and firefighters prompted CDC to conduct a health hazard evaluation of these two groups. Questionnaires were distributed to members of the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) and New Orleans Fire Department (NOFD) 7--13 weeks after the hurricane. This report summarizes the results of that evaluation, which determined that upper respiratory and skin rash symptoms were the most common physical symptoms reported by police officers and firefighters and lacerations and sprains were the most common injuries. In addition, approximately one third of the respondents reported either depressive symptoms or symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or both. These results underscore the need to incorporate the safety and health of emergency responders into existing disaster preparedness plans and to provide periodic responder training and education in tasks unique to disaster situations. Clinical follow-up of the physical and psychological health of emergency responders should be conducted to better understand, monitor, and treat their health conditions.
Emergency-responders; Police-officers; Fire-fighters; Occupational-hazards; Region-6; Injuries; Occupational-accidents; Occupational-diseases; Psychological-stress; Respiratory-system-disorders; Skin-disorders; Emotional-stress; Gastrointestinal-system-disorders
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report