The Public Health Challenge in Mass Evacuation and Shelter Care
“Medical shelters have unique requirements for information related to patient medical history, unique supply, and intense communication with community assets in planning the return of individuals to their home setting.”
Part 3 of 5
Written by RADM Craig Vanderwagen, M.D., USPHS (Retired)
This essay will examine the specifics of preparing for a mass evacuation, conducting such an evacuation with a focus on the medical and public health needs of the affected population and the information needs in shelter environments. This discussion will be limited to domestic events although many of the same approaches have merit in an international response.
The information base described here will begin to look not only at the tactical concerns, but will discuss those data elements important in guiding operational management of the tactical assets, and allow for assessment of progress towards meeting the strategic goals of saving lives, reducing the burden of health problems, and speeding recovery. This essay will begin to elucidate those elements that are critical for effective situational awareness.