ISEA2007 panel: Integration of better exposure characterizations into disaster preparedness for responders and the public
An expert panel was convened in October 2007 at the International Society for Exposure Analysis Annual Meeting in Durham, NC, entitled "The Path Forward in Disaster Preparedness Since WTC—Exposure Characterization and Mitigation: Substantial Unfinished Business!" The panel prospectively discussed the critical exposure issues being overlooked during disaster responses and highlighted the needs for an optimal blending of exposure characterizations and hazard controls within disaster settings. The cases were made that effective and timely exposure characterizations must be applied during responses to any disaster, whether terrorist, manmade, or natural in origin. The consistent application of exposure sciences across acute and chronic disaster timelines will assure that the most effective strategies are applied to collect the needed information to guide risk characterization and management approaches. Exposure sciences must be effectively applied across all phases of a disaster (defined as rescue, reentry, recovery, and rehabitation—the four Rs) to appropriately characterize risks and guide risk-mitigation approaches. Failure to adequately characterize and control hazardous exposures increases the likelihood of excess morbidity and mortality. Advancing the infrastructure and the technologies to collect the right exposure information before, during, and immediately after disasters would advance our ability to define risks and protect responders and the public better. The panel provided conclusions, recommendations, and next steps toward effective and timely integration of better exposure science into disaster preparedness, including the need for a subsequent workshop to facilitate this integration. All panel presentations and a summary were uploaded to the ISES1 website (http://www.iseaweb.org/Disaster_Preparedness/index.php).