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The environmental health response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita--AEC to feature multiple sessions on the topic.

Those who have been anxious to hear about and learn from the experiences of the environmental health professionals who responded to hurricanes Katrina and Rita will get many insights at NEHA's Annual Educational Conference (AEC) & Exhibition.

Twenty sessions at the conference will feature speakers reporting on the many environmental health issues they confronted in the aftermath of the hurricanes. At great cost, we now have real-life experience in dealing with an extraordinary, large-scale event. There is much to be learned.

Do you have in your preparedness plan a way to deal with wet, dirty laundry and provide those affected with dry, clean clothing? Some people who came to shelters following Hurricane Katrina had to wear garbage bags until showers and clothing could be brought in for them. Would you be able to handle 18,000 evacuees streaming into your jurisdiction in need of water, food, clothing, shelter, and medicine, as San Antonio had to? Would you have the staff, the facilities, and the knowledge in place to erect shelters in times of crisis--with little notice? What would you do with children abandoned at shelter daycare centers? How would you address the mental health of your staff in a time of crisis?

These questions are not rhetorical. NEHA's AEC sessions will put those who were on the scene or who have studied the realities and needs uncovered by the disaster in the room with you. Their experience can help you be prepared for the unexpected, whether it is a hazardous waste spill, a tornado, a flood, or an act of terrorism.

Ten different technical sections, representing a range of environmental health issues, will have at least one session each related to the Katrina and Rita response. A wealth of information, experience, and insight will be presented in the following sessions:

Drinking-Water Quality:

* 2005 Hurricane Response for Public Water Systems in Louisiana by the Louisiana Department of Public Health and Hospitals

Emerging Pathogens:

* Surveillance and Monitoring of Infectious Diseases in San Antonio Shelters Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

Food Safety and Protection:

* Addressing Food Safety Challenges Following Hurricane Katrina

Hazardous Materials and Toxic Substances:

* Hazardous Substances Releases Related to Hurricanes--2005

Indoor Air Quality:

* Indoor Air Quality and Mold Contamination Following Catastrophic Events

Injury Prevention and Occupational Health:

* Hurricane Cleanup Safety: Power Washers and High-Pressure Injection Injuries

* Practical Field Responder Safety Methods

* Occupational Health and Safety Concerns During Hurricane Response

Solid Waste:

* Solid Waste Clean Up After Katrina

Terrorism and All-Hazards Preparedness:

* Sheltering Evacuees: A Public Health Challenge

* Perception as Reality--Strengths, Successes, and Solutions to Community-Based Sheltering

* Nongovernmental Community Sheltering for a Large-Scale Sustained Event

* Local Perspective: The Sanitarian's Role During Disaster Relief Efforts

* State Perspective: Environmental Health in Emergency Response and Preparedness--The Louisiana Experience

* Federal Perspective: CDC Response to Environmental Health Concerns from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans

* Answering the Million Dollar Question--Florida Hurricanes 2005 and Refining the Role and Responsibilities of Environmental Health in an All-Hazards Response

* Lessons Learned Information Sharing (LLIS.gov): Lessons Learned and Shared in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

* Assessment, Compliance, and Corrective Action: Application to Catastrophic Incident Planning and Response--Katrina

Vector Control and Zoonotic Diseases:

* No Two Years Alike: Challenges of Adulticiding for Mosquitoes Following a Natural Disaster

Water Pollution:

* U.S. EPA Sediment and Surface Water Sampling Results and Conclusions for New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

This critical information is just some of what can be learned at this year's AEC & Exhibition in San Antonio, Texas, June 25-28, 2006. Complete conference information and a registration form can be found on pages 9-25 of this Journal, and further information is available at www.neha.org.
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Title Annotation:National Environmental Health Association
Publication:Journal of Environmental Health
Geographic Code:1U7TX
Date:May 1, 2006
Words:604
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