Challenges for the disaster workforce during a compound hurricane–pandemic
Keywords:disaster response workforce, COVID-19, disaster management
The COVID-19 pandemic has created new workforce considerations for emergency management community in addressing cumulative and cascading disasters. This research identifies how emergency management planning for both the changing dynamics of COVID-19 and the upcoming hurricane season may change under a compound threat. Many jurisdictions have faced challenges in providing adequate staffing of shelters before the pandemic. Now, fatigue among staff further exacerbates these challenges as resources are stretched thin. Six workshops, involving 265 national, state, and local leaders, staff, experts, and advocates from 22 states, and a range of disciplines (disaster planning, public health, social services, academia, and healthcare), were convened to identify concerns and potential strategies to address staffing, training, logistics, and support. Strategies proposed to increase the number and skill set of staff available involve increased reliance upon volunteers and nonprofit organizations. Mental health resources, personal protective equipment, sanitation supplies, and defining roles within emergency shelters were recommended to reduce fatigue and redistribute responsibilities. Findings illuminate additional research avenues regarding assessing the underlying stressors contributing to the planning process and effective means of implementing these interventions to bolster emergency management shelter operations during a prolonged pandemic and in the future.
McGuire M, Schneck D: What if Hurricane Katrina hit in 2020? The need for strategic management of disasters. Public Adm Rev. 2010; 70(s1): s201-s207.
Sobelson RK, Wigington CJ, Harp V, et al.: A whole community approach to emergency management: Strategies and best practices of seven community programs. J Emerg Manag. 2015; 13(4): 349-357.
Doan XV, Shaw D: Resource allocation when planning for simultaneous disasters. Eur J Oper Res. 2019; 274(2): 687-709.
Phillips CA, Caldas A, Cleetus R, et al.: Compound climate risks in the COVID-19 pandemic. Nat Clim Chang. 2020; 10: 586-588.
Shultz JM, Kossin JP, Hertelendy A, et al.: Mitigating the twin threats of climate-driven Atlantic hurricanes and COVID-19 transmission. Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2020; 14(4): 494-503.
Shultz JM, Fugate C, Galea S: Cascading risks of COVID-19 resurgence during an active 2020 atlantic hurricane season. JAMA. 2020; 324(10): 935-936.
Specker L: FEMA chief: COVID-19 makes early hurricane prep vital. AL.com. 2020. Available at https://www.al.com/news/mobile/2020/07/fema-chief-covid-19-makes-early-hurricane-prepvital.html. Accessed October 22, 2020.
Auger KA, Shah SS, Richardson T, et al.: Association between statewide school closure and COVID-19 incidence and mortality in the US. JAMA. 2020; 324(9): 859-870.
Capano G, Howlett M, Jarvis DSL, et al.: Mobilizing policy (in) capacity to fight COVID-19: Understanding variations in state responses. Policy Soc. 2020; 39(3): 285-308.
Chu DK, Akl EA, Duda S, et al.: Physical distancing, face masks, and eye protection to prevent person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet. 2020; 395(395): 1973-1987.
Cowling BJ, Aiello AE: Public health measures to slow community spread of coronavirus disease 2019. J Infect Dis. 2020; 221(11): 1749-1751.
Fong MW, Gao H, Wong JY, et al.: Nonpharmaceutical measures for pandemic influenza in nonhealthcare settings—Social distancing measures. Emerg Infect Dis. 2020; 26(5): 976-984.
Hsiang S, Allen D, Annan-Phan S, et al.: The effect of large-scale anti-contagion policies on the COVID-19 pandemic. Nature. 2020; 584(7820): 262-267.
Khorram-Manesh A: Flexible surge capacity–public health, public education, and disaster management. Health Promot Perspect. 2020; 10(3): 175-179.
Dzigbede KD, Gehl SB, Willoughby K: Disaster resiliency of US local governments: Insights to strengthen local response and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Public Adm Rev. 2020; 80(4): 634-643.
Demiroz F, Kapucu N: Cross-sector partnerships in managing disasters: Experiences from the United States. In Izumi T, Shaw R (eds.): Disaster Management and Private Sectors. Tokyo: Springer, 2015: 169-186.
Kapucu N, Yuldashev F, Feldheim MA: Nonprofit organizations in disaster response and management: A network analysis. JEFA. 2018; 2(1): 69-98.
Palinkas LA, Springgate BF, Sugarman OK, et al.: A rapid assessment of disaster preparedness needs and resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021; 18(2): 425.
Sokal LJ, Trudel LGE, Babb JC: Supporting teachers in times of change: The job demands-resources model and teacher burnout during the COVID-19 pandemic. Int J Contemp Educ. 2020; 3(2): 67.
Smith N, Fraser M: Straining the system: Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and preparedness for concomitant disasters. Am J Public Health. 2020; 110(5): 648-649.
Auerbach A, Gale B, Lutz B, et al.: Fiscal effects of COVID-19. Brookings papers on economic activity. Available at https://www.brookings.edu/bpea-articles/fiscal-effects-of-covid-19/. Accessed October 20, 2020.
Ludvigson S, Ma S, Ng S: COVID-19 and the macroeconomic effects of costly disasters. The National Bureau of Economic Research, 2020.
Andrews RG: What if a ‘big one’ strikes during the pandemic? The Atlantic. 2020. Available at https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2020/05/hurricane-earthquake-wildfire-tornado-disaster-pandemic/611455/. Accessed September 30, 2020.
Alcendor DJ: Racial disparities-associated COVID-19 mortality among minority populations in the US. J Clin Med. 2020; 9(8): 2442.
Webb Hooper M, Nápoles AM, Pérez-Stable EJ: COVID-19 and racial/ethnic disparities. JAMA. 2020; 323(24): 2466-2467.
Middaugh JP: Pandemic influenza preparedness and community resiliency. JAMA. 2008; 299(5): 566-568.
Sapat A, Esnard AM, Kolpakov A: Understanding collaboration in disaster assistance networks: Organizational homophily or resource dependency? Am Rev Public Adm. 2019; 49(8): 957-972.
US Bureau of Labor Statistics: Volunteering in the United States. 2015. Available at https://www.bls.gov/news.release/volun.nr0.htm. Accessed October 1, 2020.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): People at increased risk and other people who need to take extra precautions. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/index.html. Accessed October 15, 2020.
Clark A, Jit M, Warren-Gash C, et al.: Global, regional, and national estimates of the population at increased risk of severe COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions in 2020: A modelling study. Lancet Glob. 2020; 8(8): e1003-e1017.
O’Donnell C: Volunteers stay home, adding to struggles for food and shelter among the poor. Tampa Bay Times. March 2020. Available at https://www.tampabay.com/news/health/2020/03/14/volunteers-stay-home-adding-to-struggle-for-food-and-shelteramong-the-poor/. Accessed September 15, 2020.
Schuster C, Weitzman L, Mikkelsen KS, et al.: Responding to COVID-19 through surveys of public servants. Public Adm Rev. 2020; 80(5): 792-796.
Lai J, Ma S, Wang Y, et al.: Factors associated with mental health outcomes among health care workers exposed to coronavirus disease 2019. JAMA Netw Open. 2020; 3(3): e203976-e203976.
Sasangohar F, Jones SL, Masud FN, et al.: Provider burnout and fatigue during the COVID-19 pandemic: Lessons learned from a high-volume intensive care unit. Anesth Analg. 2020; 131(1): 106-111.
Adams JG, Walls RM: Supporting the health care workforce during the COVID-19 global epidemic. JAMA. 2020; 323(15): 1439-1440.
Rana W, Mukhtar S, Mukhtar S: Mental health of medical workers in Pakistan during the pandemic COVID-19 outbreak. Asian J Psychiatr. 2020; 51: 102080.
Shanafelt T, Ripp J, Trockel M: Understanding and addressing sources of anxiety among health care professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic. JAMA. 2020; 323(21): 2133-2134.
Connelly M: IMERT deployment to Baton Rouge, Louisiana in response to Hurricane Katrina, September 2005. Disaster Manag Response. 2006; 4(1): 4-11.
Crichton MT, Lauche K, Flin R: Incident command skills in the management of an oil industry drilling incident: A case study. J Contingen Crisis Man. 2005; 13(3): 116-128.
Flannery RB Jr, Everly G Jr: Critical incident stress management (CISM): Updated review of findings, 1998–2002. Aggress Violent Behav. 2004; 9(4): 319-329.
Burnett HJ: Revisiting the compassion fatigue, burnout, compassion satisfaction, and resilience connection among CISM responders. SAGE Open. 2017; 7(3): 215824401773085. 215824401773010.
Figley CR: Compassion Fatigue: Coping with Secondary Traumatic Stress Disorder in Those Who Treat the Traumatized. Milton Park: Routledge, 2013.
Conrad D, Kellar-Guenther Y: Compassion fatigue, burnout, and compassion satisfaction among Colorado child protection workers. Child Abuse Negl. 2006; 30(10): 1071-1080.
Powell TM, Yuma PJ, Scott J, et al.: In the aftermath: The effects of Hurricanes Harvey and maria on the well-being of health-care and social service providers. Traumatology. 2020; 26(3): 298-307.
Steigenberger N: Organizing for the big one: A review of case studies and a research agenda for multi-agency disaster response. J Contingen Crisis Man. 2016; 24(2): 60-72.
Maslach C, Schaufeli WB, Leiter MP: Job burnout. Annu Rev Psychol. 2001; 52(1): 397-422.
Sabath BF, Colt HG: Sending retirees to the frontlines? J Community Hosp Intern Med Perspect. 2020; 10(5): 386-388.
How to Cite
Copyright 2007-2023, Weston Medical Publishing, LLC and Journal of Emergency Management. All Rights Reserved