Saturday
Oct012016

VOL. 16, NO. 7 - OCTOBER, 2016

Mark Your Calendar

  • Oct 01-31: On-Call
  • Nov 05: Team Meeting
  • Dec 03: Holiday Party

Monthly Recap

Commander's Corner - Updates from the Commander
A Letter to the Rescue Workers - A message left for 9/11 responders
Vicarious Traumatization - A reminder about disaster responder stress

Saturday
Oct012016

Commander's Corner

David Lipin - Unit Commander

Welcome to October, our final on-call of 2016. And to kick off the month, we start with in Advisory status for Hurricane Matthew, a Category 5 storm currently threatening the Caribbean and then possibly the US east coast. More to follow soon! And below (more generally speaking), so please read this issue when you can.

Uniform Policy Change Reminder

As a reminder, our new uniform policy is that team uniform BDU blouses are not to be worn except when specifically designated for missions or FTXs, not for team meetings. Speaking of which, our next team meeting is on Nov 5. We'll have details for that in the next issue of the newsletter. Anyway, back to uniforms, since we announced this uniform policy change, several people have suggested that perhaps we can add a team polo shirt to our inventory -- the command staff will discuss this at our Oct meeting, and we'll let you know.

NDMS Portal Project

The NDMS Portal Project continues, at a slow but regular pace. There was a mass email sent asking people to acknowledge receipt so that they could validate their email list. Most of you responded, a few didn't (but we confirmed that your email addresses were valid), and a few changed your email addresses; it's great that you did that, but please remember to let us know as soon as possible whenever any of your contact information changes. For example, let us know if you don't receive the newsletter announcement, your monthly status reports, or other team correspondence at your primary email address. You can expect the NDMS Portal Project effort to continue, and don't forget that this is a secure website so it will prompt you to change your password frequently -- don't forget to do that, lest you have to start over with the initial sign-in process! Again, limit your time to about 15 minutes or so as they work on stabilizing this platform, but please keep at it.

2017 On-Call Schedule

The long-awaited 2017 rotation schedule has finally been released in final form! As anticipated, this is our "skip year" where we get a break for a few months. After this month's on-call, we're not up again until Mar next year, then Jun, Sep and Dec. As the team reorganizations continue, there may be a need to "rebalance" the schedule, so there may be future changes. But for now, this is what we can count on.

FY17 Starts

Today is the first day of federal FY17, and Congress was able to pass a temporary funding measure (through early Dec). While this will keep the lights on, it is not really enough to do thorough annual planning, so there is much that we simply cannot do for now, or can only plan tentatively. I'll update everyone at our Nov meeting.

Flu Shots

Yes, it's that time again! Everyone will fall to Tier 3 starting today until you submit your annual flu shot documentation. While you're at it, might as well see if you need any other immunizations (tetanus?), or perhaps your annual TB test.

Fitness Program

We've been "warming up" to the fitness program for the last year or so with our pre-lunch walks at our team meetings, but our program officially starts today. At our Nov meeting, weather permitting, we'll be team-reporting completion of the test. As a reminder:

  • Light duty: walk 1 mile in 15 minutes without a pack. This is suitable for limited deployment environments with no unknown hazards (example, rotating into a pre-established BoO on level ground, providing care at a medical evacuation shelter). Unlikely that you could be deployed on a first-in assignment.
  • Moderate duty: walk 2 miles in 30 minutes carrying a 25-lb pack. This is suitable for most first-in deployments for typical DMAT members, and the standard that we are targeting.
  • Arduous duty: walk 3 miles in 45 minutes carrying a 45-pound pack. This is the standard for people expected to have a lot of physical activity during a deployment, such as logistics personnel.

You may wear comfortable footwear for the test, but we encourage you to wear your boots since that's what you'll be wearing on a deployment (where it counts)! This is a walking test, no jogging or running permitted. To succeed, you must finish in the allotted time without jogging or running, and be able to immediately resume normal activities (i.e., don't need a rest break, not out of breath). There was some discussion about the pack weight being a percentage of body weight up to a max weight, but we have confirmed that this is not the case. The weights are fixed as described above, because these weights represent the workload that you would be expected to perform (regardless of your weight).

This is still optional. If you are not healthy enough to participate, then don't participate! You have a year from today to complete the test (officially witnessed by the team). We will conduct Light and Moderate duty tests at each team meeting (weather permitting), and some national-level training (such as Anniston) may also conduct these tests. Arduous duty tests will be conducted by the Logistics Section at separate events.

Medical/Health Reporting

Those of you that backfilled a Hurricane Lester roster last month were introduced to the new national-level medical/health reporting. It is essentially identical to what we already do at the team level: our medical/health form, our immunization reporting, and our respiratory fitness survey. If we are Alerted or Activated and you are on the roster, then you should expect to complete these forms online in a new system. We strongly suggest that you download these forms from our website, fill them out, and keep completed copies handy so that you can easily provide this information using the new system. Unfortunately, for now it requires a funding source before a team member's account can be activated, but once it is activated you can submit your health fitness information using that mechanism from that point forward. So at some point we'll all get there.

End of Fax and Email Information Submittal

The end of this calendar year will mark the end of us accepting forms and other information from members via our fax line or email (the forms email address). For information security purposes, we are using the Upload Document link on the team website. If you haven't figured out how to do that yet, you've got a few months

That's it for me this month. I had more to write, but now have to focus on an Advisory message! Expect your October status report next week, unless our on-call month has something else in store for us...

Friday
Sep092016

A Letter to the Rescue Workers

Submitted by Barbara Morita in remembrance of 9/11

The following letter was found in the medical tent during our World Trade Center response, October 2001:

So many of you deny that you are heroes, saying you are just doing your jobs.

Well, okay, maybe it's not heroic to have chosen your profession. Maybe it's not heroic to love that job. Maybe it's not heroic to feel the rush of adrenaline when the call for help comes in.

BUT, it is heroic that you keep your promise and come when called. You don't stop to consider what dangers may be waiting for you. You don't stop to analyze how hard the job will be. You just come ready to do whatever needs to be done.

Even now when your heards are breaking and your spirits are empty, you still allow us to lean on you and to ask you to rescue us from that pit of hell.

No one could ever be prepared, no matter how hard they trained, to do the job we are counting on you to do, a job none of us could possibly face ourselves. No compassionate human being should ever have to see the things you are seeing. And yet you are still there trying to bring back to us loves ones, co-workers, fellow Americans, fellow human beings.

For this, YES, you are truly HEROES and will always be our hearts! THANK YOU!

Friday
Sep092016

Vicarious Traumatization

Katie Amatruda, PsyD, MFT

Vicarious Traumatization (or VT) is a real, and often overlooked source of stress in the life of disaster responders, medical professionals, law enforcement personnel, therapists, child protective workers, clergy, animal humane workers, soldiers, prison workers, volunteers in NGOs, lawyers, caregivers, etc. It is considered a cumulative injury; the more pain we see, the more at risk we are. It is a transformation inside us that can affect our worldview, sense of self, spirituality, relationships, and emotional regulation.

The concept of vicarious traumatization, as introduced by McCann and Pearlman (1990), provides a theoretical framework to understand the complicated and often painful effects of trauma on crisis workers. By definition, "the effects of vicarious traumatization on an individual resemble those of traumatic experiences. They include significant disruptions in one's affect tolerance, psychological needs, beliefs about self and others, interpersonal relationships, and sensory memory, including imagery."

VT is a transformation in the sense of self of a trauma worker or helper that results from empathic engagement with traumatized clients and their reports of traumatic experiences. It was first observed with nurses who worked with combat veterans who had severe PTSD. Vicarious trauma is the emotional residue of exposure that workers have from working with people as they are hearing their trauma stories and become witnesses to the pain, fear, and terror that trauma survivors have endured. It is differentiated from burnout and compassion fatigue because VT is considered "a state of tension and preoccupation of the stories/trauma experiences described by patients." VT recognizes that working with trauma survivors greatly affects the helper and that we must address the effects in order to protect both helper and clients.

VT is unavoidable and is the natural consequence of being human, connecting to and caring about our clients as we see the effects of trauma on their lives (Saakvitne, Gamble, Pearlman, & Tabor, 2000). According to Saakvitne et al. (2000) the single most important factor in the success or failure of trauma work relates to the attention paid to the experience and the needs of the helper. We cannot meet the needs of our clients when we are overriding our own.

Signs and symptoms can include:

  • Emotional numbing
  • Social withdrawal
  • Work-related nightmares
  • Feelings of despair and hopelessness
  • Loss of sense of spirituality
  • More negative view of the world
  • Reduced sense of respect for your clients
  • Loss of enjoyment of sexual activity
  • No time or energy for yourself
  • Feeling that you can't discuss work with family or friends
  • Finding that you talk about work all the time (can't escape)
  • Sense of disconnection from your loved ones
  • Increased sense of danger (reduced sense of safety)
  • Increased fear for safety of children or loved ones
  • Sense of cynicism or pessimism
  • Increased illness or fatigue
  • Increased absenteeism
  • Greater problems with boundaries
  • Difficulties making decisions
  • Reduced productivity
  • Reduced motivation for your work
  • Loss of sense of control over your work and your life
  • Lowered self esteem, lowered sense of competence in your work
  • Difficulties trusting others
  • Lessened interest in spending time alone
  • Less time spent reflecting on your experiences

Addressing VT includes increasing self-care. Strategies include:

  • Having as much compassion for yourself as you do for your patients
  • Maintaining healthy boundaries with regard to your patients
  • Self nurturing
  • Escape
  • Distraction (Researchers studied this using Tetris, but I find that Pokémon Go is very good for this)
  • Participate in community building – talk to your colleagues and teammates about what you have seen, and what you are feeling
  • Be more than your work!  In addition to being a _________ (fill in the blank), also identify yourself as an artist, writer, dancer, sweetheart, parent, dog or cat lover, traveler, etc.
  • Team culture – Help our team to develop a culture in which we know we will be impacted by what we experience, and we are supportive of each other. Offer a shoulder to cry on!
  • Laugh – Gallows humor among teammates is an important technique to put things in perspective, but don't repeat it on CNN or in public, as you will be perceived as callous and uncaring
  • Get enough sleep
  • Cultivate your inner life
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Learn to be awesome at being yourself

References:

McCann, L., and Pearlman, L., "Vicarious Traumatization: A Framework for Understanding the Psychological Effects of Working with Victims," Journal of Traumatic Stress 3, no. 1 (January 1990)

Stamm, H., ed., Secondary Traumatic Stress: Self-Care Issues for Clinicians, Researchers and Educators (Lutherville, MD: Sidran Press, 1989)

Saakvitne, K., Gamble, S., Pearlman, L., Lev, B., "Risking connection: A training curriculum for working with survivors of childhood abuse." (2000). (Baltimore, MD: The Sidran Press)

Monday
Aug012016

VOL. 16, NO. 6 - AUGUST, 2016

Mark Your Calendar

  • Aug 13: Team Meeting
  • Sep 09-12: Urban Shield
  • Oct 01-31: On-Call
  • Nov 05: Team Meeting
  • Dec 03: Holiday Party

Monthly Recap

Commander's Corner - Updates from the Commander
Training News - Agenda for the August meeting
Who Are We? Meet The Team! - Getting to know more members
On the Road - with Roger Harper and Team Rubicon

Monday
Aug012016

Commander's Corner

David Lipin - Unit Commander

Hello everyone, and welcome to the August edition of The CA-6 Chronicles. Our July on-call passed by quickly and quietly, and we're handing off smoothly to the August teams. I know many of you are still itching for some activity; perhaps October will bring an opportunity for service (but of course we hope not)!

Uniform Policy Change

At our July command and general staff meeting, we had a lengthy discussion about safety and security as it relates to team activities in public. We determined that our team uniform blouses cannot be sufficiently distinguished from those of law enforcement or military, and in the current environment are too easily misinterpreted. Therefore, we are changing our uniform policy to prohibit wearing of the BDU blouse in public except when specifically designated for missions or field training exercises. For team meetings, the uniform-of-the-day will be team t-shirt, BDU pants, and boots; do not wear your BDU uniform blouse, and please pass along this change to team members whom you see wearing the blouse (and who obviously didn't read this newsletter!). You should bring your blouse in your gear if you are planning on a gear inspection.

NDMS Portal Project

We have only about 10% of our team members who have successfully logged into the NDMS Portal, and another 15% who unsuccessfully tried. HQ is working to make the process smoother, but they would still like people to continue to try so that they can get data about how their fixes are working. I recommend that all team members try, but limit the time you spend to about 15 minutes; if the Help Desk can't sort it out in that time, then give it a rest for another couple of weeks before trying again. But just to reiterate, the NDMS Portal will eventually be a place for secure messaging, document filing, messages from HQ, rostering, real-time information about ongoing missions, deployment instructions, and more. So please try to log in, and limit your frustration by making use of the Help Desk services right away if you encounter difficulties.

Pending NDMS Structural Changes

Andy and I are attending a meeting next week at which some fairly significant structural changes to NDMS will be presented. They will likely have substantial impact on the team, as they are related to recruiting, hiring, mission strength and operations, command structure and many other aspects of our operation.

I plan on discussing these changes in detail at our August meeting, although we will have just returned and may not yet know the full extent of the impact. It's always best to discuss complicated issues like this in person because of the subtleties involved, so I hope to see everyone at the August meeting!

Monthly Status Reports

I skipped these again in July (still wasn't caught up from vacation), but am planning on working on that in the upcoming week so people can have them prior to the August meeting. Ditto for those of you that requested your CE's.

Mark Caplin Update

Mark Caplin was injured while on a (non-NDMS) mission in the Caribbean a few days ago. (Details in the Chatter forum on the team website.) He was medivac'ed to FL and had successful surgery on Sunday. He says that he's hoping to return to DMAT duty in 4-6 weeks, and I've passed along everyone's well-wishes. Good luck and hurry back Mark!

Urban Shield 2016

If you're looking to volunteer for Urban Shield this year, check out the Urban Shield 2016 website, and select Volunteers under the Register tab. You can volunteer for the Medical Branch as usual (select Medical Branch, put Val Bilotti in the "referred" section). You can also sign up for other areas of Urban Shield, so check it out!

That's it for me this month. Stay safe and see you in a couple weeks!

Monday
Aug012016

Training News

Aug 13th Meeting
Our next team training will take place at the usual time and place (see the Calendar on the team's home page). If you need a USERRA letter, contact Crystal Wright.

Here's a look at the agenda so far (not yet finalized):

General Member Tract:

  • Katie Amatruda will present Mental Health Patients
  • Chris Yee from the FDA will present Foodborne and Contact Infections & Illnesses
  • Chris Yee from the FDA will present The Nuts and Bolts of a Farm Field Investigation
  • And our usual Electronic Medical Records and Equipment Lab hands-on opportunities

New Member Tract:

  • Flightline Operations
  • Introduction to Radio Communications
  • Family/Employer Preparedness

Look for the agenda and meeting documents to be published under Training Documents (link on the right in the Members Area) in the days prior to the meeting.

And of course bring your go bag and comfortable shoes to join us on our lunch walk! We expect to begin formal testing at the next meeting.

Monday
Aug012016

Who Are We? Meet the Team!

Welcome to a series of profiles of Team members. Please answer a few questions about yourself using the Member Background link on the website so we can include you too!

Keith Perry, Safety Officer - Keith joined the team in 2011 as a Safety Officer. In real life, he works at Stanford University and covers two programs within the department of Environmental Health & Safety. He serves as the Emergency Manager for the Stanford University campus and as the Training & Communications Manager for EH&S. We can guess how he found out about us: "I had been aware of DMAT for a while before I joined but I had never taken the plunge. It took a chance conversation with Brandon Bond to get me moving in the right direction. I just happened to say to him one day, "you need to tell me more about this DMAT thing." His response was, "we have a training on Saturday. You should come." I did. Here I am. I have always felt that each of us should look for ways to use our talents and skills for the betterment of our community and in service to others. Serving on the DMAT team gives me an opportunity to help others when they need it most. It allows me to combine what I can do with what I believe in and that is a very precious combination." On his experiences with the team he states, "There are a lot of moving parts on a DMAT team. As a Safety Officer just getting to know the entire scope of the operation and understanding when and where safety issues occur has been a challenge. It gets easier with time and experience. The training exercises at Moffett have been great for that. Until you hit the field, it's all just very theoretical. You need to get out in the real world to see how it all fits together." Ask Keith about baseball - NOT softball - when you see him next!

Mike helps build a kite at the US Embassy in Haiti, where teams staged waiting for a mission.Michael Sullivan, EMT-P - works as a Captain with the Berkeley Fire Department, and has been a paramedic for over 10 years. He joined the team in 2008, but first learned about DMAT by following the response to the World Trade Center and realizing that he wanted to be involved with an organization that worked on more than just a local level. He joined the team because he wanted to be able to use his skillset and expand his abilities and knowledge in a way in which "I may be able to help a large number of people and to work with people of a similar mindset". Mike says "the challenge is dealign with the bureaucracy that surrounds the Federal Government. Everything from it taking almost 3 years for me to get through the hiring process to sitting in a theater waiting for an assignment and itching to get to work. The most rewarding aspects are being able to make a difference in the outcome of a person, a family, and a community after a tragic circumstance and getting to work with people in an ego-less environment where everyone is focused on the same mission with the same vision". Mike considers Haiti his most challenging mission, and says of that challenge that it "had so many different elements and really represented all that NDMS is about, to me. It had frustration and fear, anger and exhaustion, exhilaration and angst. I will never forget the people we were able to help and never want to forget the people we couldn't. It put my home life in perspective and my work life under a microscope. I had some of the most profound experiences of my life there, sometimes occuring in just a matter of a minute or two." He also enjoyed the State of the Union Address, because he's "a political junkie and to be able to be in the Gallery during the speech and be a part of the behind-the-scenes working of our government was a fascinating experience" that he'll always cherish. Mike lives for his time with his family and experiences in nature. He's a hiker, backpacker and trail runner. He says that his family and love of nature keep him grounded and remind him to keep his life and blessings in perspective.

Monday
Aug012016

On the Road with Roger Harper

Roger Harper, RN

On May 1, 2016, a wildfire began southwest of Fort McMurray, Alberta Canada. On May 3, it swept through the community, destroying approximately 2,400 homes and buildings and forcing the largest wildfire evacuation in Albertan history. The fire spread across approximately 590,000 hectares (1,500,000 acres) before it was declared to be under control on July 5, 2016. It is the costliest disaster in Canadian history.

I deployed with Team Rubicon (a disaster response volunteer organization) to Ft McMurray from June 6th – June 20, to help affected residents recover any surviving items in the ashes of their former homes that may have survived the fire. Team Rubicon was invited by the local municipality of Wood Buffalo to assist local residents. We were able to help 1,300 homeowners during our response period. We supervised hundreds of local contractors in this process in teams of six.

In addition to 35 plus members from Team Rubicon USA, we were hosted by the newly formed TR Canada with 10 members present. International support by a 10 member TR group from the UK and a lone member from TR Australia. Psychological support for the residents was provided by local mental health and was supplemented with a 7 member team from Israel (IsraAid).

The recovery of items required wearing level C PPE including APRs, Tyvex suits, goggles, 2 pairs of gloves and heavy rubber boots. Time limits had to be imposed limiting personnel to 45 minutes in the Tyvex with 30 minutes rest breaks to cool off and rehydrate. (The weather ranged from mid 50’s with rain to 70’s and sunny.)

Like DMAT, we were housed in what was available – a technical college for oil field training. Hot showers, A/C and wi-fi in the college! Food was provided by one of the wildfire response kitchens so chow was outstanding!

Local wildlife included large mosquitos and a black bear was spotted on the perimeter of the college.

There are many disaster response teams out there with many better than others but from my limited experience – very few compare to DMAT.

Friday
Jul012016

VOL. 16, NO. 5 - JULY, 2016

Mark Your Calendar

  • Jul 01-31: On-Call
  • Aug 13: Team Meeting
  • Sep 09-12: Urban Shield
  • Oct 01-31: On-Call
  • Nov 05: Team Meeting
  • Dec 03: Holiday Party

Monthly Recap

Commander's Corner - Updates from the Commander
The Logistics Scoop - Preparing yourself for on-call month
Who Are We? Meet The Team! - Getting to know more members

Friday
Jul012016

Commander's Corner

David Lipin - Unit Commander

Thanks to everyone for letting me skip the last newsletter so I could go on vacation! It's a slow, early-summer month so there's not much in the way of updates, but I do have a few announcements in the queue.

But before I go into those, here's a quick reminder that we're on-call this month, so keep an eye on the weather. Even though the predictions call for an "average" storm season, it's running well ahead of itself so far: Alex  back in Jan was the first Atlantic extratropical storm to develop into a hurricane since 1955; then May brought us Bonnie, another pre-season storm (the last time that happened was 2012); Colin formed before Bonnie disintegrated, becoming the earliest third named storm on record; and just a couple weeks ago Danielle became the earliest-on-record fourth named storm (breaking the 2012 record). The Pacific is behaving similarly, already with one Category 2 storm under its belt. There's nothing "in the hopper" going into July, so we get to start with a clean slate. But keep an eye on the weather and other world events.

And now for the announcements:

NDMS Portal Project

I recently sent out an announcement to all federal team members about a "reset" to the roll-out of the NDMS Portal project. (If you did not receive that announcement, let me know.)

Just to follow up with that, the NDMS Portal will eventually be a place for secure messaging, document filing, messages from HQ, rostering, real-time information about ongoing missions, deployment instructions, etc. We hope that it will eventually replace much of the functionality on the team website. While that's a ways off, HQ has begun the process of getting everyone an account on this system. If you haven't successfully followed their sign-on instructions, you should start working on it. It's supposed to take only 10-15 minutes but they're still having some hiccups, so don't spend more than a few minutes on it before you reach out to the help desk per the instructions. Their role is to help you through the process, so pass issues to them rather than get frustrated. It might take a few attempts, but we really need everyone to start on this so we can reach a critical mass on that system and start seeing how it meets our needs.

NDMS Pilot Team Project

You may recall that a few weeks ago there was an invitation to apply for a special NDMS Pilot Team project, looking for a select number of people with tactical medical backgrounds. There were an overwhelming number of highly-qualified applicants, and I'm pleased to announce that one of our own, Matt Cobb, made the cut. He's heading off for initial training next week, so you can ask him about it the next time you see him!

NDMS Standards of Care Working Group

NDMS HQ is looking for a few qualified individuals to participate on a new Standards of Care Working Group (SCWG) chaired by the NDMS/OEM Chief Medical Officer. Individuals will be selected based on the following criteria (interested applicants do not need to meet all of these criteria):

  • NDMS Deployment experience in response to one or more disasters (for example, Haiti, Katrina, Sandy, etc.)
  • Currently working, primarily in emergency medicine, critical care, trauma, surgical and/or pre-hospital care
  • Medical response experience with disasters, mass casualty care, medical/health support of shelter operations, humanitarian assistance medical operations
  • Currently practicing medicine in an area that delivers care to patients from diverse cultures, demographics and health conditions
  • Physicians: Board certified in a medical specialty / ABMS (the SCWG members should ideally have a mixture of specialties, e.g., adult, pediatric, and obstetrics/gynecology)
  • Nurses, paramedics and others with advance certifications/training (CEN, CCRN, CFRN, TNCC, ACLS, PALS, CTRN, CEPN, PHTLS, ITLS
  • Experience/knowledge in bioethics and crisis standards of care
  • Interest/experience in medical literature research/review
  • Required: attend the SCWG meeting to be held August 7-11, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Required: agree to remain on the SCWG until completion (anticipated time for completion: 6 months) and participate in regularly scheduled (bi-monthly) teleconferences and potentially in-person meetings in DC

If you are interested, send me a one-page letter with your contact information, qualifications and experience as per above, and a brief statement about why you want to participate and what you can offer. The deadline is 07 Jul.

Monthly Status Reports

I skipped these in June because I was on vacation. (Thanks again!) Look for the July versions in your inbox in a few days.

Urban Shield 2016

If you're looking to volunteer for Urban Shield this year, check out the Urban Shield 2016 website, and select Volunteers under the Register tab. You can volunteer for the Medical Branch as usual (select Medical Branch, put Val Bilotti in the "referred" section). You can also sign up for other areas of Urban Shield, so check it out!

That's it for me this month. Stay safe and enjoy the long weekend!

Friday
Jul012016

The Logistics Scoop

Carol Masterson - Uniforms Unit Leader

It's time for another deployment on-call month. Are you and your gear ready? Before the on-call month you should re-check your gear bags. Get out your gear and uniform check lists and double check your bags. It is very mysterious how "stuff" disappears out of your bags when you are not on-call.

Have you removed any clothing for washing? Make sure all your uniforms are clean and ironed (and starched) and folded neatly. Do you have all your patches?

Boots should be cleaned and shined. Do you have a pair of new insoles or your prescription orthotics?

Food and snack items can get stale. I recently found an energy bar that expired in 2009. Don't forget your required yummy MRE.

Check your wet wipes/personal wipes. Over time they can dry out. Try to get wipes that do not have strong perfume smell. Many of our patients (and team members) may be allergic or sensitive to them.

Do you have your civilian clothing ready? We usually do not travel wearing our uniforms. Have a set of business casual clothing and comfortable footwear (not sandals or open-toe shoes) ready to go. Please no t-shirts with advertising, political statements or "rude" pictures.

For cold weather – don't forget your coat, warm gloves and black cap. If you need to wear a warm long sleeve t-shirt, sweater, jacket or hoodie, please make it black.

For warm weather/tropical deployments, remember a mosquito net, sun screen, hat and DEET insect repellent.

Be sure you have your name on every item of your clothing. Sometimes on deployment we send our uniforms to the laundry in one "big bag" and our laundry is often returned in one "big bag", mixing all the uniforms together. Use a laundry permanent marking pen or you can iron or sew in name labels.

Have you packed your personal medications and 2-week supply of your prescription medications (3 weeks for an international deployment)? If you wear contacts, do you have spares and a backup pair of glasses? If you wear a hearing aid (yeah, some of us are old!), do you have extra batteries?

Double-check that you have your driver's license, passport, copy of your medical license and certifications, NDMS ID card; you can't play if you don't have these, so don't leave home without them. Don't forget your (optional) HHS credit card as well. Also $$$$ cash for when the ATM is not working because of the disaster you are responding to.

Have you packed all your needed paperwork? Cell phone with emergency phone numbers? Test questions: What is Crystal's cell phone number? What email address do you need to know when you leave your home for deployment? True or false: it is always OK to pay for flight changes?

Looks like you are ready – but wait – Do you know how much your bags weigh?

Keep an eye on the news and the website for possible deployments this month!

Friday
Jul012016

Who Are We? Meet the Team!

Welcome to a series of profiles of Team members. Please answer a few questions about yourself using the Member Background link on the website so we can include you too!

John McPartland, Logistics Officer - John McPartland states that the most rewarding part of being on DMAT is "knowing that we stand ready to make a positive difference in the survival and quality of life of others struck by disaster when no one else can." John is an elected Director, District 5 on the Board of Directors of BART and has an extensive background in Emergency Management, leadership and training, including: Retired Army Colonel, Retired Fire Chief (EMS Mgr, Paramedic, HazMat Spec, Urban Search & Rescue) and he teaches local, state and federal Emergency Management Courses. He is a Charter member of DMAT. His most interesting assignment was Hurricane Katrina.

DeAnn McAllan, RN - works  per diem with a home care agency and also does chart auditing online. She commutes from Wisconsin for our meetings! She's been a member for almost 15 years, as a Supervisory Nurse Specialist. She found out about the team from her good friend Terry Holbrook, and also Richard Brown …"we were in Contra Costa's Search and Rescue together where I had 2 search dogs -- one trained in finding people, both live and deceased, and the other was training to be a 'bomb' dog." She says, "The Haiti mission after the earthquake was the most interesting. I had done several other medical missions to Haiti so had a connection with the country through those trips. I knew the people and how wonderful they are and how hard they have to work every day to survive. Having this earthquake devastate their major center was very sad." DeAnn has many passions: "Off the 'top of my head', my passion is always learning new things...I play recorders and have joined a group (first recital coming up!) and am going to learn the bagpipes, which I purchased in Scotland recently on a genealogy trip (my father was born there)...as well as piano. Maybe I'm not the best but it's so much fun and I love it...my other passion is outdoor activities...hiking mainly. I love exploring new areas." Her advice? "You'll have fun in DMAT if you are just new to the team. Most of us learn to do things we never did when we were younger...really, how often did you have to put up a tent like we use during our missions?  :)"

Steve Woolpert, EMT - has been a member of DMAT CA-6 since 2003, as an EMT and anything else, as needed. He joined because "I had been frustrated in not finding a way to personally help at 9/11.  I knew then that I must become a member of DMAT CA-6, ready to help at the next disaster requiring medical assistance, helping people who require acute trauma and/or medical attention." Steve says, "While I have been in a full-court-press pre-hospital medical assistance focus for nearly 14 years, I had been an owner and executive in a large family-owned and -operated construction aggregates mining and general engineering construction company for the first 47 years of my life." Steve keeps busy: "I do volunteer work at San Francisco General Hospital, serving in the Emergency Department as a Clinical Assistant and in the Operating Department as a Supply and Clerical Assistant. I volunteer serving on the Race Medical Teams of  UCSF, Kaiser Permanente and the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. During the winter months, I volunteer with the National Ski Patrol at Northstar California as a Ski Patroller." Steve says, "I appreciate everyone that makes DMAT CA-6 a ready-to-deploy medical team. We'll be there when we're most needed! How cool is that?"

Sunday
May012016

VOL. 16, NO. 4 - MAY, 2016

Mark Your Calendar

  • May 14: Team Meeting
  • Jun 08-10: Moffett FTX
  • Jul 01-31: On-Call
  • Aug 13: Team Meeting
  • Sep 09-12: Urban Shield
  • Oct 01-31: On-Call
  • Nov 05: Team Meeting
  • Dec 03: Holiday Party

Monthly Recap

Commander's Corner - Updates from the Commander
Training News - May 14th training, Moffett FTX, and other Bay Area opportunities
The Logistics Scoop - From your Logs Chief
Fitness Self-Assessments - More help with fitness
You People Stink - Deployment hygiene advice
App Review - Another disaster app for Android and iOS users

Sunday
May012016

Commander's Corner

David Lipin - Unit Commander

Whew, am I glad April is over! That on-call period was one of the busiest Advisory months we've experienced, with both earthquakes and hurricanes. I'll discuss them a bit at our May meeting, but for now thanks to everyone for your patience and willingness to stay on the ball.

I don't have much to say this month, which is good because we've got plenty of contributions from other team members!

Upcoming Training

Please take a close look at the Training News article below. It includes information about our Q2 quarterly training on May 14, our annual FTX on Jun 8-10, and other opportunities as well. There's time-sensitive information in there.

Monthly Status Reports

We got too busy in April so passed on the monthly status reports. Look for them in your inbox in early May, so you can plan for which courses to attend at the May meeting.

Introducing ASPR TRACIE

For those of you in the preparedness field, there's a new ASPR resource available to you: the ASPR Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE). Click here for the first edition of their newsletter, which is interesting reading (I don't know how often this newsletter will be published). You can also subscribe to a couple TRACIE features:

The ASPR TRACIE Listserv allows you to receive updates on new resources and features. Go to ASPRtracie.hhs.gov, click on the "Subscribe to the ASPR TRACIE Listserv" button at the bottom right of the page, and provide your email address.

The ASPR TRACIE Information Exchange (IE) allows you to collaborate and participate in active discussions with your peers in a password-protected environment. Under the Information Exchange tab, click on "Apply for Access" and provide the information requested. You will then receive two separate emails:

  • The first email will ask you to "complete your account registration". Once you verify your registration, you will be logged in to the general site (not the Information Exchange).
  • Within one business day, you will receive a second email notifying you of your acceptance into the IE. All registrants must be vetted before admission to the IE to ensure their valid connection to healthcare system preparedness and compelling reason for accessing the IE.

Contact TRACIE at 844-5-TRACIE (844-587-2243) or askasprtracie@hhs.gov.

Sunday
May012016

Training News

May 14th Meeting
Our next team training will take place at the usual time and place (see the Calendar on the team's home page). If you need a USERRA letter, contact Crystal Wright.

We've got another interesting meeting planned:

General Member Tract:

  • The US Coast Guard will update us on their Bay Area and disaster operations
  • Dave Lipin will review past NSSE deployments, in preparation for the upcoming RNC and DNC in July
  • Crystal Wright will update us on the latest administrative changes (one of the annual required classes)
  • And our usual Electronic Medical Records and Equipment Lab hands-on opportunities

New Member Tract:

  • Shelter Systems Overview -- bring work gloves and close-toed shoes! Learn the basics of setting up a Western Shelter structure, common to NDMS as well as many other agencies and entities around the country
  • Uniform Overview -- the why's and how's of wearing the NDMS uniform

Look for the agenda and meeting documents to be published under Training Documents (link on the right in the Members Area) in the days prior to the meeting.

Moffett FTX Sign-ups
We are now taking sign-ups for the Moffett FTX, Jun 08-10! Similar to previous years, we'll be training with our VA partners alongside FEMA US&R teams on a post-earthquake patient extrication, stabilization and movement scenario. This is an all-out field exercise, living and working in a reasonably austere environment for 3 days and 2 nights. Highly recommended for new members and those that haven't been in the field for a while. This year we're adding helicopter aeromedical and loading training, including hot loading out on the airfield. All CA-6 and CDMSA members are welcome. See the link under Event Signups in the Members Area for much more information and to sign up.

Anniston Training
Mark Caplin, Roger Harper, Cindy Hellman-Wylie, Mark Weston and Ada Wong are all attending the NDMS Fundamentals training at the Center for Disaster Preparedness in Annison, AL this week. We wish them well in the rain!

Contra Costa Training Opportunities
Contra Costa EMS and CALSTAR are sponsoring a free Airway Management course as part of EMS Week, 16 May, 0900-1200 hrs at John Muir Concord. Includes both didactic and hands-on skills practice, and 3 hours of CEU/BRN units. Click here for details.

CoCo EMS and John Muir Medical Center are hosting an all-day Pediatric Disaster and Emergency Care Conference providing advanced knowledge in pediatric disaster preparedness topics to improve disaster response and resiliency. Also free, and includes CEs (pending approval). Click here for more details and to register.

Sunday
May012016

The Logistics Scoop

Joseph Telles - Logistics Section Chief

The next Logistic Section meeting will be May 10th, by conference call starting at 6:30 pm. Directions for participation in the conference call will be sent out by email to participants on the Logs email list. If you are not on this list and would like to be added, send me an email (see Contact Us link on the team website). All team members of DMAT and CDMSA our welcome to attend the Logistics meetings.

A reminder to all Logistic Section Members to continue your physical preparation to meet the arduous fitness standard of walking 3 miles in 45 minutes with a 45 lb. pack (lower of 45 lbs or 20% of your body weight). At the next team meeting I would like to see all Logistics Section members do 2 miles with a 25 1b. pack at the next lunch walk. A heads-up for Logs folks, at the August meeting our goal for Logs personnel will be walking 2 miles with a 45 lb. pack in 30 minutes!

Sunday
May012016

Fitness Self-Assessments

Joseph Telles - Logistics Section Chief

Spring is here! Days are now warmer and longer making it much easier for us to get outside and get active. Our team meeting on May 14th is almost here with another opportunity for all of us to walk together as we continue to get fit. For the May meeting, everybody is encouraged to bring their go bags (day packs) to carry on the walk. Some good news for all of us concerns the weight of the pack to be carried by team members for our upcoming fitness tests. The weight of the pack is to be 25 lbs., max 10% of your body weight. So, for example, if you weigh 150 lbs. your pack does not need to weigh more than 15 lbs. Also for those of you that are motivated at our next walk you can choose to walk an extra mile with Steve Woolpert to make the walk a total of two miles -- to see how well you do for the actual distance for the moderate standard.

The talent and experiences of our team members is wide and fortunately extends into the fitness arena. Eric Shanks, a Logistics Officer and team PIO, welcomes the opportunity to offer fitness advice to fellow team members. Eric has been a coach for over 25 years and competed in National Championships in swimming and triathlon. Eric manages a Facebook page for novice runners and is currently writing a book for beginner runners.

Eric is an accomplished Coach and has coached at several Swimming Championships in the U.S. and abroad. Eric has also coached at the Boston Marathon, the Manhattan Island and Tampa Bay Marathon Swims, and the Swim Around Key West Florida Race. Although he is retired from competition, Eric maintains his fitness year-round. His waking heart rate is below 45 beats per minute. Eric runs 15-30 miles per week and swims 3K-7K meters per week.

Getting fit, unfortunately, is not usually a steady progression of getting stronger, faster, and increasing your endurance each day or each week. The reality is that as you exercise you will experience good days and not-so-good days, and you will have aches and pains as your body adapts. So here are some helpful hints to help you deal with those days when you don't feel so good.

• Take a hot shower before you work out.
• Do some light physical housework or, if at work, something physically active before you start your fitness workout. This will help your body ease into a workout.
• Go slow. Slow your physical activity speed down to where you feel no pain or not increasing your chance to injure yourself.
• Cross train. Do different activities to work different muscle groups and give other muscle groups that you use for your go to exercise a rest.
• After you warm up or break a sweat stop and stretch for 5 to 10 minutes.
• Ice your sore areas for at least 10 minutes as soon as you finish exercising.

All of you, I hope you enjoy your spring and upcoming summer. I will be hiking the Appalachian Trail beginning May 10th. I'll be gone until September. So while I'm gone I wish you all well!

Sunday
May012016

You People Stink

Mark Weston, RN

This was the comment from the NDMS Director when he greeted CA-6 at the airport after we returned from Haiti in 2010. I thought since there are so many new people on the team, some comments on hygiene in the field might be needed.

Most of the deployments of CA-6 have been to areas that are hot and wet (100° F+ temps and 90%+ humidity). These environments are unlike what we are accustomed to in the Bay Area. Add to that the anxiety of the deployment itself. In other words, you are going to sweat, and sweat a lot!

In my travels, staying in a great many different hotels, most of the rooms have soap, mouthwash, lotion, and coffee packets. I usually make one cup of coffee and place the remaining packets in my suitcase. I usually liberate all the amenities that are in the room; if I'm staying multiple days, even better for my supply cache. We will be looking at each of these products from top to bottom.

Truly austere missions have no showers or hot tubs, and the water that you have will be for internal use only. So let us start from the top; yes, your head. You may not be able to wash your hair so leave the hair dryer at home; it's too heavy and bulky to pack, and where are you going to plug it in? [From the editor: there are also waterless shampoos available at drug stores.] For most of us we keep our hair short, tie it up, cover it up and some even shave down to the skin (not my choice). A sponge body bath may be all you get. Baby wipes (we will see these again) work well here and a small towel to dry with and then the towel can be used to wipe off some of that excess perspiration. If we have the extra water, a small soap is helpful. Soap can come from any of those hotel visits, small and compact.

If you want to keep from being too stinky, I pack three things:

  1. My wife tears out those paper perfume/cologne ads from magazines and I place them in a zip lock bag. Packs easy. They work great after that sponge bath and are easily disposable.
  2. A body powder. I prefer "Gold Bond" type; it is medicated and works for those rash areas that we all get. We will look at powder again.
  3. A small deodorant stick fits well in here also.

For those who need to shave face, pits or legs, do not bring the electric model (there may not be a place to plug it in). Remember that hotel bar of soap? A lather can be worked up to shave away that stubble if necessary, or you can wait until we demob and get back to civilization.

A toothbrush is a necessity, probably even more so than that sponge bath, along with toothpaste. A small tube will do. If you need mouthwash, a very small plastic bottle is best usually obtained from those same hotel visits. Dental floss is a good item to have, small and compact.

A nail file and or clipper. Yes, you will break a nail and cleaning under the nail beds after unloading the trucks feels and looks so much better and is definitely more sanitary when you are treating patients.

Working on down the ol' body to your under garments. It is best to have loose fitting boxer-type and avoid the tighty whitey's as that is where that rash will start. Remember that medicated powder? When I was in Vietnam (hot and wet) we did not wear any under garments (commando style); again hot and wet environment but we did carry and use the medicated powder. TP in small packs will be needed after a visit to the outhouse, porta-potty or bucket. And remember the baby wipes? A final cleaning with one will make your day.

Now your feet. You want to talk about something stinky?! When you are on your feet for 12 or more hours, they will sweat. When your shift is over, off come the boots and socks, allow your feet to air dry. Hang up your socks so they can dry; you will get used to the smell. When starting your next shift, remember that medicated powder, a small amount rubbed in between the toes will make your day better. Put on socks, better if they are clean but be sure they are dry. I usually pack a dozen or so pairs and keep half in my pack and the remainder in my big bag. I also rinse out my socks if we have extra water.

Remember your boots? We do not have the space to pack two pairs, so how do you dry them out? Coffee! Yes, coffee; it is not just for drinking. Another hotel visit item, you did pack some of these packets in your gear bag, right? Take out two packets, decaf or French roast, your choice, and remove them from their foil bags but be careful not to cut into the coffee pouch itself, as it will be useless. After you have taken off your boots, drop one in each boot; the coffee will absorb the moisture and the foot odor. When you are ready to put your boots back on, take out the coffee packets, don't throw them away because they can be used almost indefinitely, place them back in your gear bag to be used after your next shift when you take off your boots again. Remember that medicated powder? Never leave home with out it; drop a little in each boot and shake it around to cover the inside, trying to avoid any clumping.

Well now, don't you feel better? You may not look it, but your body and your cohorts will appreciate what you have done. Sometimes it's the little things that will get you through the day and make you a little more tolerable to live with.

Sunday
May012016

App Review

[From the editor: this is a periodic article on apps that might be useful to DMATers or disaster responders in general. If you have some suggestions for apps to review, please submit them!]

Disaster Alert

Recommended by Mark Caplin: a global, multi-hazard monitoring and alerting application for "active hazards" around the globe. This app is from the Pacific Disaster Center, which uses information, science and technology to enable effective evidence-based decision making and to promote disaster risk reduction concepts and strategies. [From the editor: note that the free version tends to be "notification heavy", and that the subscription version allows for more specific event filtering but the price-point primarily targets people in the disaster response field.]