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A New Health Monitoring and Surveillance Tool for First Responders

Aug 27, 2012

Emergency responders have been called to duty over the past decade by an increasing number of natural and an-made disasters. As each large-scale disaster occurred, the importance of how best to ensure the safety and health of professional and volunteer emergency responders before, during and after a disaster has grown.

While some guidance had been developed about how best to prepare response workers both before and during deployment, less attention had been placed on assessing responders’ health after they complete their
deployment. With this in mind, in 2008 NIOSH convened an multidisciplinary public health workgroup to address these concerns. The Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance (ERHMS) system was developed in 2011 by this workgroup. It includes both written guidance and epidemiology/surveillance tools as examples of current best practices for protecting response, remediation, and recovery workers and volunteers.

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