New software tracks health of emergency responders
As we recognize September as National Preparedness Month, U.S. and international emergency personnel have been overwhelmed with responses to the hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and wildfires experienced in this month alone. While these responders often put their lives on the line for public safety, we at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) together with our partners work to keep these responders safe.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently announced the availability of a new software platform called ERHMS Info Manager™ to track and monitor emergency response and recovery worker activities during all phases of emergency response following a natural disaster or other public health emergency. ERHMS Info Manager™ is a custom-built software product developed by NIOSH that emergency responder organizations can use to implement the Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance (ERHMS™) framework. The ERHMS™ framework provides recommendations for protecting emergency responders during small and large emergencies across all three phases of a response- the pre-deployment, deployment and post-deployment phases. NIOSH, along with partner agencies and departments at the local, state, and federal levels, developed the ERHMS™ framework following the collapse of the World Trade Center when the subsequent health problems experienced by responders illustrated an urgent need for improved health monitoring and surveillance of emergency responders.
The freely available software can be used by anyone involved in the preparedness and protection of emergency responders, including: incident command staff, response organization leadership, health, safety and medical personnel, and emergency responders. ERHMS Info Manager™ assists organizations in decreasing the time required to identify exposures, signs, and symptoms of illness throughout an emergency response by allowing health data to be easily collected, analyzed and reported. This helps ensure workers are not harmed and can respond effectively during the event. Data collected before, during, and after a response also helps identify which responders would benefit from medical referral and possible enrollment in a long-term health surveillance program.
ERHMS Info Manager™ uses CDC’s publically accessible data management and informatics tool, Epi Info™ for creating forms, capturing data, and analyzing data specific to emergency response situations. ERHMS Info Manager™ allows users to:
- Create responder profiles;
- Record response incidents and map incident locations;
- Assign responders to an incident roster;
- Design forms and surveys using custom and pre-built templates;
- Request information from responders by using forms and surveys; and
- View and analyze forms and survey responses.
Along with the launch of the ERHMS Info Manager™ software, NIOSH also developed a new ERHMS™ website where visitors will have easy access to:
- The ERHMS™ framework;
- Online training tools;
- The ERHMS Info Manager™ software, user manual, and training videos; and
- Additional resources.
We would like to hear from you when you have used ERHMS Info Manager™. What did you like about the software? Are there components you would like to see added in future versions?