Doctoral thesis

Australian civilian hospital nurses’ lived experience of an out-of-hospital environment following a disaster

Mass Gathering Health / Mass Gathering Medicine

Various publications and presentations relating to Mass Gathering and Major Event health

Disaster Health

Various publications and presentations relating to disaster health

22 January, 2012

"UC expert urges Australians to be ‘health prepared’ for disasters"

Photo from University of Canberra - Monitor Online by Michelle McAulay

In late January / early February I participated in a number of media interviews that focused on the need for members of the community to be 'health prepared' for disasters.

Print media appearances: 
Article above from the City News, 21st June 2012

Radio media appearances:
  • What you can do to be health prepared for a disaster; radio interview on 2CC Canberra weekend lifestyle program, 21st January
  • News headlines on the following stations (January / February): Radio National; ABC 891 Adelaide; ABC North and West SA (Port Pirie); ABC Riverland SA (Renmark); ABC South East SA (Mt Gambier); ABC West Coast SA (Port Lincoln); ABC 612 Brisbane; ABC Capricornia (Rockhampton); ABC Far North (Cairns); ABC Gold and Tweed Coasts (Gold Coast); ABC North Queensland (Townsville); ABC North West Qld (Mt Isa); ABC Southern Queensland (Toowoomba); ABC Sunshine and Cooloola Coasts (Sunshine Coast); ABC Tropical North (Mackay); ABC Western Queensland (Longreach); ABC Wide Bay (Bundaberg); 2CA (Canberra); 2CC (Canberra).
Media release:
We are used to preparing our homes and belongings for the threat of bushfires, storms and floods in the summer disaster season, but Australians need to be prepared to look after their own health in emergency, according to a University of Canberra disaster response expert.

Jamie Ranse, a health academic specialising in disasters, said in the wake of a major incident emergency services are stretched and medicines in short supply so residents should be ready to look after themselves.

“People often think about sentimental items they would collect if they were evacuated from their homes, such as photo albums and computers, but they often forget to think about items that support their health needs,” he said.

Mr Ranse said during the Queensland floods, Victorian and Canberra bushfires, people were relocated to evacuation centres where they remained for days or weeks.

“Whilst in these centres, a number of people required medications of some kind. However, during a disaster, medications become increasingly hard to access, and this is made even harder if people don't know what medications they take.”

Mr Ranse said there are a few simple steps people can take to be health prepared, including preparing a list of previous medical and surgical history, as well as a list and a supply of current medication.

“This list should be placed with other items you might take in an evacuation such as blankets and warm clothes. People should also have a basic understanding of first aid and have a small first aid kit in an accessible location.

“It’s also a good idea to get to know your neighbours as you may be able to help them prepare for a disaster, or provide assistance during a disaster.

“It is important that people are as self-sufficient as possible as emergency services are stretched beyond capacity, and they will not be able to respond in a timely matter to minor injuries or ailments.”

Key points to being health prepared:
  • Have a current list of medications, aliments and previous medical / surgical history. Keep this list with other items you might take in an evacuation, such as photo albums or computers
  • Keep a stocked first aid kit in your car
  • Learn first aid and know basic first aid principles such as how to control bleeding, how to open an airway and how to do CPR
  • Get to know your neighbours

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