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Injuries and Illnesses Among American Red Cross Responders—United States, 2008–2012

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 October 2014

Kimberly Brinker*
Affiliation:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Atlanta, Georgia
Catherine A. Head
Affiliation:
American Red Cross, Washington, DC.
Candice Y. Johnson
Affiliation:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Atlanta, Georgia
Renée H. Funk
Affiliation:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Atlanta, Georgia
*
Correspondence and reprint requests to Kimberly A. Brinker, MSN, MPH, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of the Director, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Emergency Preparedness and Response Office, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Mailstop E-20, Atlanta, GA 30333 (e-mail: kbrinker@cdc.gov).

Abstract

Objective

Occupational injury and illness rates for volunteer responders have not been well documented. We analyzed data specific to volunteers from the American Red Cross (ARC).

Methods

Data collected by the ARC between 2008 and 2012 were analyzed to identify disaster factors associated with responder injuries and illnesses. We focused on disaster-relief operation (DRO) level (indicating operational costs, ranging from 3 [lower] to 5+ [higher]); disaster type; region; and year. We calculated injury and illness rates and estimated rate ratios (RR) with 95% CI, using negative binomial regression. Also, we analyzed a total of 113 disasters.

Results

Hurricanes had the highest rates of injuries (14/1000 responders) and illnesses (18/1000 responders). In the adjusted model for injuries, RRs were higher for DRO levels 4 (3.6 [CI, 2.0–6.7]) and 5+ (4.9 [CI, 2.2–11.0]) than for level 3. In the adjusted model for illnesses, RRs also were higher for DRO levels 4 (4.4 [CI, 2.6–7.3]) and 5+ (8.6 [CI, 4.1–17.7]) than for level 3.

Conclusions

Higher DRO levels were a significant predictor of greater rates of occupational injuries and illnesses. Careful selection of responders, including volunteers, has been warranted for deployments to such disasters. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2014;0:1-7)

Type
Original Research
Copyright
Copyright © Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc. 2014 

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References

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