Medical preparedness

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  • The 20th century brought us the birth of the atomic age, with Albert Einstein’s understanding that E = MC2 in 1905, Ernest Rutherford’s theory of the structure of the atom in 1911, and the first sustained nuclear reaction in Chicago in 1942. While it brought the promise of a robust use of nuclear technologies for peaceful purposes, it also brought the reality of nuclear weapons in 1945. Those initial weapons were large, heavy, and complex to make and use. Moreover, only nations had nuclear weapons, not individuals or groups.

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  • When we look at things impassionedly, the answers to both these questions appear to be that we are more fearful and the situation is worsening.

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  • Having a vision, a mission, and a passion are invariably seen as conditions for success. The 1995 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) concept of a Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS) demonstrated that the leaders of DHHS had a vision for an effective response to a mass-casualty terrorism incident with a weapon of mass destruction. The mission was to expand the experimental model of the Metropolitan Medical Strike Team (MMST) established in Washington, D.C., and neighboring counties into a national program.

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  • The previous section indicates that skills obtained after high school are central to workforce preparedness. The U.S. system of post-high school education and training has a diversity of options to obtain these skills, including four-year colleges, community colleges, private two-year colleges, public and private vocational-technical institutions, community-based organizations, and formal apprenticeship programs.

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  • In general, evacuation plans are in place for all long term care settings. What varies most is how much has been actually tested, and what sectors have been involved in these drills and exercises. In many cases, the drills have been mostly simulated, the first responders and transportation mechanisms have not been adequately involved, and tracking systems and the mechanics of moving residents with documentation and medications have not been tested. Evacuation plans and drills must be taken to the next level of preparedness by involving all sectors and actually testing as much as possible....

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