Types of Disaster (Nursing)

by Heide Cygan, DNP, RN

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    00:01 This presentation is about different types of disasters.

    00:05 So what is a disaster? A disaster is any natural or man-made event that causes a level of destruction, or emotional trauma exceeding the abilities of those affected to respond without community assistance.

    00:21 Disasters can be natural, or man-made.

    00:24 Natural disasters are caused by natural events, such as hurricanes, or earthquakes or tsunamis.

    00:33 On the other hand, man-made disasters are caused by human activity.

    00:38 Examples of this include oil spills, plane or subway train crashes, bombings, or other terrorist actions such as mass shootings.

    00:50 Now this might seem pretty straightforward, sometimes there's overlap between the two.

    00:55 For example, in many cases, natural disasters are followed by man-made events.

    01:01 This happened in Japan in 2011, when there was a large earthquake and a subsequent tsunami.

    01:07 These devastating natural disasters ignited a man-made disaster when a large wave rushed over a series of nuclear reactors.

    01:15 This caused radiation to leak from the nuclear plant, over 150,000 people had to be evacuated from the area, an area that was already devastated by the earthquake and the tsunami.

    01:27 That's an example of how natural disasters often go hand in hand with man-made disasters.

    01:33 Was the devastation from these events natural or man-made? Well, it was really a combination of both.

    01:40 This distinction is further complicated when natural disasters are made worse by human activity.

    01:46 We saw this with Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

    01:49 While the hurricane itself was a natural disaster, the devastation was made worse by several human activities.

    01:55 The first of which was levee construction.

    01:58 Levees are built to keep floodwaters out of the city.

    02:01 However, they also interrupted the natural habitat of the area and caused marshlands to received.

    02:08 These marshlands would have protected the city from some level of flooding.

    02:12 So this is an example of how human activity can fuel devastation caused by a natural disaster.

    02:20 Another cause of mass trauma that fits somewhere between a natural disaster and a human caused disaster is infectious disease.

    02:28 Now remember, our overall definition here is any event that causes distress above the community's capacity to respond.

    02:36 From 2014 to 2016, there was an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa.

    02:43 During this time, over 28,000 cases were identified, and over 11,000 deaths were counted.

    02:52 Ebola virus disease is caused by a biological agent, and so therefore, by definition, this would be considered a naturally occurring disaster.

    03:00 However, underdeveloped surveillance systems and poor public health infrastructure made it nearly impossible to constrain the outbreak.

    03:08 Within a few months, the outbreak had spread to several countries.

    03:12 The Ebola virus disease outbreak required resources be on those of the communities that are impacted.

    03:18 It causes physical and emotional stress for families and individuals.

    03:22 This is an example of how an infectious disease can be a disaster.

    03:29 When we measure the overall impact of disaster, there are two factors that we consider.

    03:34 The first is scope.

    03:36 Scope is the range of the effects of the disaster.

    03:40 This can be measured by geography, or by the number of people who are impacted.

    03:45 Next, we consider intensity.

    03:47 Intensity refers to the level of destruction or devastation caused by a disaster.

    03:53 Take into consideration, earthquake.

    03:55 An earthquake that hits in a large urban city.

    03:58 Now compare that to an earthquake of the same magnitude that hits in a desert that scarcely populated.

    04:04 Although the earthquakes may have the same numeric score, the scope and the intensity of each will be different.

    04:11 Now I know this can be unpleasant and a bit unsettling to think about.

    04:15 But as public health nurses, it's important for us to understand disasters so that we're prepared to help the communities that we serve.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Types of Disaster (Nursing) by Heide Cygan, DNP, RN is from the course Emergency Preparedness (Nursing).

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Oil spill
    2. Hurricane
    3. Earthquake
    4. Tsunami
    1. Infectious disease outbreak
    2. Plane crash
    3. Tsunami
    4. Oil spill

    Author of lecture Types of Disaster (Nursing)

     Heide Cygan, DNP, RN

    Heide Cygan, DNP, RN

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