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NIOSH Seeks Comment on Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance

Feb 17, 2011

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announces the availability of the following draft publication for public comment. The document is entitled, ``Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance.''
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announces the availability of the following draft publication for public comment.

The document is entitled, ``Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance.'' The document proposes a new framework for ensuring responder safety and health by monitoring and conducting surveillance of their health and safety during the entire cycle of emergency response, including the pre-deployment, deployment, and post-deployment phases of a response. The proposed system is referred to as the ``Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance (ERHMS)'' system, which includes a guidance section describing the principles of ensuring optimal responder safety and health, as well as a tools section to help facilitate the execution of these principles during an actual response.

The goals of this proposed system are to ensure that only properly trained and fit responders are deployed to a response, that the health and safety of all responders are appropriately monitored during a response, and that a systematic and comprehensive evaluation be conducted to determine the potential need for long term surveillance of responders' health after their deployment has been completed. This system will help to ensure that hazardous occupational exposures and signs and symptoms observed during an emergency response are utilized to mitigate adverse physical and psychological outcomes and determine whether protective measures are sufficient to prevent or reduce harmful exposures to workers.

Data collected during the pre-, during-, and post-deployment phases will also help to identify which responders would benefit from medical referral and possible enrollment in a long-term health surveillance program. The document, entitled ``Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance,'' and instructions for submitting comments can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docket/review/docket223/.