Injuries and illnesses among American Red Cross responders - United States, 2008-2012.
Brinker-K; Head-CA; Johnson-CY; Funk-RH
Disaster Med Public Health Prep 2014 Oct; 8(5):404-410
Objective Occupational injury and illness rates for volunteer responders have not been well documented. We analyzed data specific to volunteers from the American Red Cross (ARC). Methods Data collected by the ARC between 2008 and 2012 were analyzed to identify disaster factors associated with responder injuries and illnesses. We focused on disaster-relief operation (DRO) level (indicating operational costs, ranging from 3 [lower] to 5+ [higher]); disaster type; region; and year. We calculated injury and illness rates and estimated rate ratios (RR) with 95% CI, using negative binomial regression. Also, we analyzed a total of 113 disasters. Results Hurricanes had the highest rates of injuries (14/1000 responders) and illnesses (18/1000 responders). In the adjusted model for injuries, RRs were higher for DRO levels 4 (3.6 [CI, 2.0-6.7]) and 5+ (4.9 [CI, 2.2-11.0]) than for level 3. In the adjusted model for illnesses, RRs also were higher for DRO levels 4 (4.4 [CI, 2.6-7.3]) and 5+ (8.6 [CI, 4.1-17.7]) than for level 3. Conclusions Higher DRO levels were a significant predictor of greater rates of occupational injuries and illnesses. Careful selection of responders, including volunteers, has been warranted for deployments to such disasters.
Injuries; Statistical-analysis; Emergency-response; Emergency-responders;
Author Keywords: responders; volunteers; occupational health; injuries; illnesses
Kimberly A. Brinker, MSN, MPH, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of the Director, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Emergency Preparedness and Response Office, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Mailstop E-20, Atlanta, GA 30333
Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness