Policy & Regulation

 

 

https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/Book-Review---Disasters-and-Public-Health.aspxBook Review: Disasters and Public HealthGP0|#21788f65-8908-49e8-9957-45375db8bd4f;L0|#021788f65-8908-49e8-9957-45375db8bd4f|National Security;GTSet|#8accba12-4830-47cd-9299-2b34a43444652017-04-10T04:00:00Z<p>This book represents the rare case where the sequel is better than the original. The second edition of<em> Disasters and Public Health: Planning and Response </em>is a good primer for public health, emergency management, and security professionals. In particular, security officers also responsible for safety may find this book helpful in understanding common threats and hazards, applicable alert and warning conditions, and rudimentary mitigation, preparedness, and immediate actions. </p><p>Like a textbook, the book organizes each chapter into the same structure: a brief case study to introduce the topic, learning objectives, an explanation of the threat or hazards discussed in the chapter, definitions, health considerations, and preparedness and immediate response and recovery actions. The consistent format makes the book easy to use as a reference. Where applicable, the authors insert additional sections. For example, they include a discussion of medical countermeasures for nuclear and radiological hazards, a discussion of labeling systems for chemical hazards, and recommended warning messages for different groups during winter weather hazards. </p><p>The second edition adds several new chapters on threats and hazards not addressed in the earlier edition, including chapters on emerging infectious diseases and foodborne illnesses. Several original chapters have been updated, and many examples have been updated to reflect recent historical events. There are also new chapters reflective of recent concerns for public health and emergency managers, considering topics such as resilience, at-risk populations, and disaster behavioral health. </p><p>While many of the discussions related to public health are United States–centric, the recommendations and messages may be applied globally. The chapter on community disaster resilience introduces a number of international sources to support the development of resilience strategies, and the examples, likewise, are broader, discussing Chernobyl, the early 2000s European heat waves, and the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo, among others.  </p><p>The case studies that open each chapter, while illustrative and applicable, are not intended as in-depth analyses, often providing only short summaries of the responses. Preparedness and response, however, are thoroughly addressed in the detailed explanations of the hazards and threats themselves, and more detailed cases are often included in the chapters. </p><p>The material is informative, simple, and easy to understand for the non-expert. For example, the chapter on at-risk populations provides simple examples of populations that might be at risk and why. The list is comprehensive, if not complete, and while much of the information is common sense, it is an extremely useful list to have on hand as a reminder of who might be affected, by what, and why. Similarly, most chapters provide a list of hazard-related definitions to help the reader understand, for example, the differences between corrosive and oxidizing chemical agents.</p><p><em>Disasters and Public Health: Planning and Response </em>purports to detail lessons learned. Lessons are there, but the reader will have to look for them because they are often buried in the text. The lessons are geared towards preparedness and response and include both general public guidance and information for the response communities. For example, lessons learned in the chapter on Tornadoes and Thunderstorms are provided as messages for the community, including “Do not try to outrun a tornado in a car.” Similarly, lessons from previous foodborne outbreaks are listed as food safety measures. All in all, this text provides both useful threat and hazard introductions and lessons and actions that even seasoned security professionals can benefit from.</p><p><em><strong>Reviewer: Dr. Deena Disraelly</strong> is a research staff member at the Institute for Defense Analyses and an adjunct professor at The George Washington University School of Engineering and Applied Science. She has more than 20 years of experience in emergency management and serves as the chair of the ASIS Global Terrorism, Political Instability, and International Crime Council.</em></p>

Policy & Regulation

 

 

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