A reference guide for certification of deaths in the event of a natural, human-induced, or chemical/radiological disasters
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A reference guide for certification of deaths in the event of a natural, human-induced, or chemical/radiological disasters
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  • Description:
    Death certificates are the fundamental and primary source of official mortality statistics in the United States. Disaster- related mortality data collected from death certificates are used to assess the scope of an event, identify common risk factors for these deaths, and develop evidence-based public health interventions. Death certificates help families recover from catastrophic events, and data compiled from death certificates help the nation, states, and cities become better prepared to mobilize resources more efficiently. Currently, inconsistencies in reporting a death as disaster- related on the death certificate make it difficult to generate reliable and accurate mortality statistics and to identify the most frequent causes of death associated with disaster events (1). With complete and accurate information, statistics at the national, state, and local levels can be generated, and research conducted, to better understand contributors to disaster-related deaths. Emergency personnel, public health and public safety professionals, and others use this information to plan for and implement targeted interventions to mitigate risk during disaster response and recovery. Currently, inconsistencies in reporting a death as disaster- related on the death certificate make it difficult to generate reliable and accurate mortality statistics and to identify the most frequent causes of death associated with disaster events (1). With complete and accurate information, statistics at the national, state, and local levels can be generated, and research conducted, to better understand contributors to disaster-related deaths. Emergency personnel, public health and public safety professionals, and others use this information to plan for and implement targeted interventions to mitigate risk during disaster response and recovery. This project represents the coordinated efforts of the National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems, Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH). To complete this work, a working group of epidemiologists, medical examiners and coroners (ME/C), vital records agency personnel, and representatives of NCEH and the National Center for Health Statistics was formed. Several ME/Cs in the group also represented the National Association of Medical Examiners and the International Association of Coroners & Medical Examiners. During a 2-day summit, stakeholders collaborated to develop this document as well as discuss future recommendations, partnerships, and dissemination strategies to improve disaster-related mortality surveillance. We would like to thank all of the participants and other reviewers for their many hours of support, significant expertise, and enthusiasm for building lasting partnerships. Suggested citation: National Center for Health Statistics. A reference guide for certification of deaths in the event of a natural, human-induced, or chemical/radiological disaster. Hyattsville, MD. 2017. CS283565
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