Workplace Emergency An unforeseen situation that threatens your employees, customers, or the public, disrupts or shuts down your operations, or causes physical or environmental damage. Emergency Preparedness Essential elements of emergency preparedness planning: • Identify hazards and assess risk.
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Five months have passed since the Ebola virus was first confirmed in West Africa a€” but according to a top aid official, the emergency response is still leaderless and suffering from a kind of a€?Ebola psychosisa€? that has made the global community reluctant to join the front-line fight.
The Canadian physician, who recently returned from a 10-day tour of the worst-hit countries, said there is a a€?vacuuma€? of leadership in the outbreak response, which still lacks a co-ordinated plan at the top. A spokesperson for the WHO declined to respond to specific allegations but said the UN health agency currently has 150 people on the ground. But for Liu, the most urgent need is for a€?people who will roll up their sleeves and do some legwork in the fielda€? a€” everyone from doctors and nurses to a€?social mobilizationa€? teams who can help spread education and awareness. MSF, which is also responding to crises in Syria, South Sudan, Gaza and Iraq, is now reaching a breaking point in West Africa, with many staffers serving on their third or even fourth Ebola mission. The health crisis also extends beyond Ebola and the affected countries are now experiencing a€?emergencies within an emergency,a€? Liu said. Liu said many aid agencies that typically work alongside MSF during humanitarian crises simply arena€™t present in West Africa. No MSF worker has ever died while responding to an Ebola outbreak and Liu credits the organizationa€™s rigorous procedures for keeping her people safe.
Liu says rich countries around the world have to help a€” not by closing borders but by strengthening capacity on the ground.
The use of mobile devices has revolutionized the way the emergency management community prepares, communicates, and responds to natural and man-made disasters. With my parents, daughter, siblings, and extended family in Oklahoma City and Moore, this disaster had an overwhelming personal impact on me. The horrific and devastating nature of the EF-5 tornadoes that struck Oklahoma City and Moore were seen, heard – and essentially “experienced” by the world, in real-time, on May 20, 2013.
This is consistent with research by the University of Central Florida Human Factors in Disaster Management Team. The emergency management (EM) community is beginning to adapt response processes to include the use of photos, videos and text messages in decision making during a high consequence disaster.


According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 2010, mobile cellular technology is the most rapidly adopted technology in history. The UCF HFDM Team’s research conducted in 2010 resulted in the development of a mathematical model that can be used to evaluate mobile devices utilized by emergency managers and other first responders. Their research displayed a need for screens that are compatible with varying lighting conditions and that have considerable durability. Finally, the UCF HFDM Team identified a need for improved portability with smaller mobile devices.
The results from research by the UCF Human Factors in Disaster Management Team will be used as the basis for a human-centered mobile device selection methodology, for emergency management officials and other first responders.
Clipping is a handy way to collect and organize the most important slides from a presentation. Joanne Liu, president of the Mi??decins Sans Frontii??res aid group, says the World Health Organization "needs to step up" in response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The organization just opened its largest-ever isolation ward in Liberia with 120 beds, which have already been filled, Liu said. With health workers either dead from Ebola or too scared to work, no one is receiving health care for anything, she said. She said her family was terrified when they heard she was going to West Africa a€” a reaction she didna€™t even encounter when she went to Syria. It doesna€™t help that MSF has been unable to secure guarantees from governments that they will fly their own citizens home for treatment if they get infected while responding to the outbreak.
But she admits to being worried, given how hard her staffers are working and the exhaustion permeating the organizationa€™s ranks. Mobile devices significantly increase the efficiency, rate, and accuracy of communication, in a real-time manner. After finding out that they were all safe, despite the loss of my niece and her husband’s home in Moore, my attention turned to the emergency management response. The UCF Human Factors in Disaster Management Team has demonstrated areas where mobile devices have been instrumental in improving communication during emergency responses. The most commonly used activities for phones is changing, as smart phone devices are becoming a standard and can be used for so much more than vocal communication. Due to the high resilience and global use of wireless communication devices, it is important that the selection and use of mobile devices is strategically optimized.


The UCF HFDM Team’s study revealed a need for mobile devices that require little cognitive and physical effort. Involving physical interaction with the mobile device, it was determined that it is important for these devices to have better grips.
However, the UCF Team noted that emergency mobile devices should never be so small as to hinder the speed or accuracy of text entry. Pamela McCauley is a nationally-recognized speaker, entrepreneur, author, and tenured Professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems at the University of Central Florida where she leads the Human Factors in Disaster Management Research Team. In Liberia, for example, six babies recently died after their pregnant mothers walked for hours looking for a place to deliver.
Airlifting an Ebola patient requires permission not only from the receiving government, but from every single country the airplane flies over, Liu added. The excellent decisions made within the minutes leading up to, during, and immediately after the Oklahoma tornadoes were clearly supported by quality information and the use of mobile communication technologies. As a researcher with National Science Foundation funded research on mobile devices in emergency management, I was encouraged to know these powerful and readily-available technologies would be used to support the Oklahoma City community. The team has also demonstrated an increased reliance on mobile communication devices among emergency managers and citizens. This must be considered so we can continue to improve information exchange between emergency management officials and the general population. Stronger mobile device grips would help minimize slippage and lessen the chances that a device is blown, or pulled from, the users’ hands.
The integrated use of these devices has been effective in decreasing “black-outs” in communication. Fulbright Scholar Specialist Program Awardee for her US-New Zealand Human Engineering and Mobile Technology in High Consequence Emergency Management Program. She is the author of Ergonomics: Foundational Principles, Applications, and Technologies and Transforming Your STEM Career Through Leadership and Innovation.




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