Emergency Preparedness and Management of Mass Fatalities: Pandemic Influenza

Emergency Management
Online Course
45 minutes
Columbia University
Columbia Regional Learning Center
Fatality Management

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Barbara Butcher, Chief of Staff, and Director of Forensic Investigations at the NYC Office of Chief Medical Examiner provides an overview of the core issues in Mass Fatality Management Operations as they apply to pandemic influenza. In this presentation, learners are presented with mass fatality plans suited toward H5N1, with a particular emphasis on the unique challenges posed to staff during such events. It is noted that unattended, unidentified and unclaimed bodies would increase dramatically during a pandemic influenza event, with health care facilities being overwhelmed caring for the living, and not having adequate storage space for the deceased. Ms. Butcher provides specific strategies and plans that can be used to better handle surge capacity during pandemics, while also providing useful examples from New York City’s current planning efforts.

Learning Objectives: 
  • Describe the role of public health in emergency preparedness
  • Identify and explain the relevance of each of the 7 core system capacities for public health preparedness
  • Define and summarize the similarities and differences between an emergency and a disaster
  • Summarize the purpose and importance of an emergency response plan
  • Describe the utility of an incident command system in emergency response and identify where you fit within your organization’s chain of command
PHEP Capabilities: 
Public Health Surveillance and Epidemiological Investigation
Fatality Management
Medical Countermeasure Dispensing