Katrina Task Force commander: Technology key to minimize effects of disaster

Emergency Management Alert, June 2, 2009

Technology could be a life saver during a disaster, or at least help to minimize its effects, Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, commander of Joint Task Force Katrina told an audience at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Stakeholders East 2009 Conference in Washington, D.C. last week. According to, he spoke about certain technologies that already exist and the need to come up with new technology to better prepare the public and healthcare facilities to deal with disasters.

To avoid spending money and time on blood tests to determine what's wrong with patients, Honore says healthcare workers should share electronic medical records on CD or thumb drive and have back-up systems for such information, reports Other solutions, he said, include a patient ID card or bracelet carried or worn at all times by the patient with blood type, DNA, and other necessary medical information, especially for children, who he says were often separated from parents during Hurricane Katrina as they were flown from of rooftops before their parents.

The ability to screen test samples for viruses during epidemic needs to be available outside of the Centers for Disease and Prevention during an outbreak as well, he says.

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