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September 12, 2017

NIOSH Releases New Software to Monitor Emergency Responder Health and Safety

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The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) just announced the new ERHMS Info Manager™, a free software tool that tracks and monitors emergency response and recovery worker activities before, during and after their deployment to incidents such as natural disasters or other public health emergencies. 

ERHMS Info Manager software is designed to help emergency responder organizations implement the Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance (ERHMS™) framework. The free software can be used by anyone involved in the deployment and protection of emergency responders, including: incident command staff, response organization leadership, health, safety and medical personnel and emergency responders.

Identify Exposures to Reduce Risks

NIOSH says significant gaps and deficiencies continue to exist in health monitoring and surveillance of emergency response workers, including police, fire, emergency medical personnel, cleanup, repair, restoration and recovery workers. The organization believes its new software can help.

“By being able to easily collect, analyze and report health data, ERHMS Info Manager decreases the time required to identify exposures and signs and symptoms illness throughout an emergency response to ensure workers are not harmed and can respond effectively,” said NIOSH ERHMS Coordinator Jill Shugart, MSPH. “Data collected before, during and after a response also helps identify which responders would benefit from medical referral and possible enrollment in a long-term health surveillance program.”

The software uses the CDC’s publicly-accessible data management and informatics tool, Epi Info™ for creating forms, capturing data and analyzing data specific to emergency response situations. ERHMS Info Manager allows users to:

  • Create responder profiles
  • Record response incidents and map incident locations
  • Assign responders to an incident roster
  • Design forms and surveys using custom and pre-built templates
  • Request information from responders by using forms and surveys
  • View and analyze forms and survey responses

The ERHMS framework provides recommendations for protecting emergency responders during small and large emergencies in any setting. NIOSH, along with partner federal agencies, developed the ERHMS framework following the collapse of the World Trade Center when the subsequent health problems experienced by responders illustrated an urgent need for improved health monitoring and surveillance of emergency responders.

More Tools Available Online

Along with the launch of the ERHMS Info Manager software, NIOSH also developed a new landing page on its website for information related to emergency responder health monitoring and surveillance. From the new ERHMS web page, visitors will have easy access to:

  • The ERHMS framework
  • Online training tools
  • The ERHMS Info Manager software, user manual, and training videos
  • Additional resources

“The nation depends on more than 3 million emergency response workers who are trained and prepared to respond to disasters and other emergencies where they often face hazardous conditions,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “ERHMS Info Manager streamlines the important task of response worker health monitoring and surveillance saving organizations time while ensuring the health and safety of emergency responders.”

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