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Monitoring the Health of Public Health Responders: Development and Use of the Responder Safety, Tracking, and Resilience System (R-STaR) for Hurricane Matthew

  • Alezandria K. Turner (a1) (a2), Laura Edison (a1) (a3), Karl Soetebier (a1), Wendy Smith (a4) and Cherie Drenzek (a1)...


On October 7, 2016, Hurricane Matthew traveled along the coasts of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina causing flooding and power outages. The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) developed the Web-based Responder Safety, Tracking, and Resilience (R-STaR) system to monitor the health and safety of public health responders and to inform disaster response planning for Hurricane Matthew. Using R-STaR, responders (n = 126) were e-mailed a daily survey while deployed to document injuries or harmful exposures and a post-deployment survey on their post-deployment health and satisfaction with using R-STaR. DPH epidemiologists contacted responders reporting injuries or exposures to determine the need for medical care. Frequencies were tabulated for quantitative survey responses, and qualitative data were summarized into key themes. Five percent (6/126) of responders reported injuries, and 81% (43/53) found R-STaR easy to use. Suggestions for R-STaR improvement included improving accessibility using mobile platforms and conducting pre-event training of responders on R-STaR. Lessons learned from R-STaR development and evaluation can inform the development and improvement of responder health surveillance systems at other local and state health departments and disaster and emergency response agencies. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:74–81).


Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to Dr Laura Edison, Georgia Department of Public Health, 2 Peachtree St. NW, 14th FL, Atlanta, GA 30303 (


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