FIGURE 5-1 Multiple pitfalls prevented assessment success after Hurricane Katrina. Compromised structures created limited accessibility, preventing assessors from entering some areas.

SOURCE: Johns Hopkins University (unpublished). Reprinted with permission from Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.

the Mississippi Public Health Department’s response. Callers could also leave voicemail for nonemergency issues.

Environmental Monitoring Detection Strategies

One of the issues for environmental monitoring is determining what detection strategies will be used and what will be designated as the gold standard. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) collected air samples from multiple locations across the New Orleans metropolitan area on September 11 and 13, 2005. These data were collected with portable, battery-powered monitors that are often used in an emergency response because they give immediate readings; however, the data obtained from these monitors could not easily be compared with the EPA standards. EPA does not use data from these types of monitors either for compliance purposes or for generating routine air quality advisories, noted Schwab. Even so, to provide the public with a point of reference, EPA compared the results with its air quality index for inhalable coarse particles, also known as PM 10.

Schwab noted that assessments need to be broad in focus for infectious diseases such as dysentery, cholera, and gastroenteritis. He noted that one of the

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