How to “SPOT” Trucks Carrying Hazardous Materials on Highways during Road Trips?

October 1, 2014
trucks

(Image compliments of dreamstime royalty free photos)

I travel to NJ by car frequently for long weekends. This past summer, I took a long road trip from Northern Virginia to New England.   This large span of highway took me close to ten hours in my personal vehicle without traffic delays or any traffic-related accidents.

On these trips I often encounter the now familiar visions of red brake/tail lights in front of me, and hear the screeching of brakes coming from somewhere around me and hope/pray that the other vehicle is not near me. Sometimes these massive slow-downs are a result of a car fire, a traffic accident with multiple vehicles, or bumper-to-bumper traffic due to people viewing a recent incident on the other side of the highway.

While I am sitting at a stand-still, I often wonder how the policeman that arrives while I am sitting in traffic know whom to call to clean the roadway to make it safe for others?   When we are allowed to move forward and get closer to the incident, we have all seen them – those responders, that are in their “special” suits and masks called in to deal with cleaning up this roadway mess, an image that may look similar to this one:

(Image compliments of US Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration website)

(Image compliments of US Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration website)

They often arrive after the incident has taken place. Aside from their sense of smell, how do they know what type of hazardous material is on the roadway? Are all chemical spills treated the same way?

According to the Department of Transportation (US DOT), Federal Highway Administration’s publication targeted at First Responders titled “Traffic Incident Management in Hazardous Materials: Spills in Incident Clearance”. The Federal Highway Administration’s mission is to “Keep America Moving”.

Traffic Incident Management (TIM) and spill management are two of the tools in the “resource toolbox” that focus on reducing congestion.

050-000-00596-8[1]The purpose of this document is to report practices regarding the clean-up of incidental spills and to explain the use of the United States Department of Transportation’s (U.S. DOT) Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG). This document also describes techniques and strategies that can be used to handle hazardous material spills at traffic incidents.

Volume of Hazardous Material Shipments

(Image compliments of dreamstime-copyright-free images)

(Image compliments of dreamstime-copyright-free images)

Current research indicates that hazardous materials traffic in the U.S. now exceeds 800,000 shipments per day.   When you think about how many trucks you see while driving on the highways and airplanes flying overhead daily, that is an abundance of hazardous materials being transported!

The largest tank volume is the saddle tank (normally 70 gallons) on a semi-truck. Depending on the number of tanks on the truck, the maximum capacity for fuel for a commercial vehicle can be as much as 350 to 420 gallons!

Types of Hazardous Materials

(Image compliments of U.S. Department of Transportation website)

(Image compliments of U.S. Department of Transportation website)

Under the DOT’s Hazardous Materials Regulations notations included in this guide, (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) hazardous materials are categorized by analysis and experience into hazard classes and packing groups. Each shipper is required to classify a material according to these hazard classes and packing groups and communicate the material’s hazards. The shipper repetitively communicates the hazard through the use of package labels, shipping papers, and placards on transport vehicles.

The DOT has broad jurisdiction to regulate hazardous materials that are in transport, including the discretion to decide which materials shall be classified as “hazardous.” These materials are placed in one of nine (9) hazard classes based on their chemical and physical properties. Therefore, it’s important for response personnel to understand the hazard classes, their divisions, and reclassified materials so they can assess the situation and respond, accordingly.

Here is an image of a sampling of the types of placards that you may be able to recognize on trucks traveling the US highways with you:

(Images compliments of Wikipedia)

(Images compliments of Wikipedia)

You can find this Transportation Incident050-001-00345-7[2] Management in Hazardous Materials Spills in Incident Clearance print book available at the US Government Printing Office Overstock Sale here.

While supplies last, you can check out all the titles in our 50% Off Overstock collection here.

GPOVERSTOCK-SALE-BannerOur Overstock Sale includes an assortment of print and eBook titles discounted by 50% from the list price ranging in topical categories from military history …. to transportation …. to health resources ….. to childcare …… check out this clearance sale today!

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE PUBLICATIONS?

About the Author – This week’s blog contributor is Maureen Whelan, Senior Marketing Team Leader for GPO’s Publication & Information Sales division  in Washington, DC.  Maureen oversees print and digital content dissemination strategy and manages third party free and paid content distribution vendors such as Apple iBookstoreGoogle Play eBookstoreEBSCOhostOverdrive, and more.

 


Remembering 9/11: Tales of Heroes and Tough Lessons

September 11, 2014

9-11 Decade of Remembrance Twin Towers and Pentagon Logo designed by David McKenzie at the Government Printing OfficeIn remembrance of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Government Book Talk revisits blogger Michele Bartram’s post from September 11, 2013.

There are certain moments and events that are etched in our national consciousness. Ask any American who was alive in the 60’s where he or she was when John F. Kennedy or Martin Luther King was assassinated and you will hear a stirring personal story. For our generation, it was September 11, 2001.

Image: September 11 Decade of Remembrance logo with World Trade Center Twin Towers surrounded by a figure representing the Pentagon. Created by David McKenzie with the Government Printing Office for the U.S. Government Bookstore.

I was right across from the Twin Towers twelve years ago today, getting ready to board a ferry for my daily commute from New Jersey across the Hudson River into Manhattan, when I saw the second plane hit the World Trade Center right across from me. So, too, I cried with a group of strangers as we stood on the ferry platform and watched in horror as the first tower fall, saw the dust cloud rise and felt the earth—and the world—tremble.

America and Americans have changed since that day… twelve years ago today. We have since heard stirring stories of heroes and sacrifice, and learned many grim lessons that are still affecting both policy and people today.

Many of these stories of heroism, missed opportunities, and resulting actions have been painstakingly and faithfully chronicled by a wide array of Federal agencies, ensuring the sacrifices and lessons are not forgotten.

Responding to the Tragedies

Both in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, DC, we saw how first responders and medical personnel rushed to save lives. These excellent publications tell the stories of the heroes from that day:

  • 008-000-01049-8Pentagon 9/11 (10th Anniversary Edition) (Paperback) includes a foreword by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and provides the most comprehensive account available of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon and aftermath, including unprecedented details on the impact on the Pentagon building and personnel and the scope of the rescue, recovery, and care-giving effort.
  • 008-000-01048-0Attack on the Pentagon: The Medical Response to 9/11 not only tells the personal stories from medical personnel responding to the attack on the Pentagon, but also provides insight from MEDCOM officers detailed to New York to support National Guard troops guarding ground zero’s perimeter. It also includes the Army’s involvement in the recovery of deceased attack victims at the Pentagon and the work of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in identifying human remains at Dover Air Force Base. In addition, the roles of military and civilian hospital staffs and of military environmental health and mental health specialists in taking care of attack victims and their families are also examined.

Tough Lessons

The single must-read for every American about September 11 is the official version of The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. This publication lists the findings of the National 9/11 Commission, listing all the painful errors made leading up to the terrorist attacks and outlining specific recommendations for international, national, state and local changes in policy and procedures that the panel of experts felt needed to be implemented to ensure a similar attack never happened again. This seminal publication has served to inform all subsequent policies and legislation since 9/11. It is available in print or as an eBook.

911-commission-report

Image: Launch of the 9/11 Commission Report. Courtesy: CSMonitor.com

The Senate, Select Committee on Intelligence, and House, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence examined the intelligence failures leading up to 9/11 and jointly published the results in United States Congressional Serial Set, Serial No. 14750: Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Community Activity Before and After Terrorists Attacks of September 11, 2001 With Errata.

027-001-00097-1Additional insights into the causes of and responses to terrorism can be gleaned from Terrorism Research and Analysis Project (TRAP): A Collection of Research Ideas, Thoughts, and Perspectives, V. 1. This publication provides the findings from the post-9/11 FBI Terrorism Research and Analysis Project (TRAP) Symposium. TRAP is a leading research consortium made up of international/domestic academics and law enforcement officers, and is a working group sponsored by the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit. In it, these counter-terrorism experts provide a better understanding of the causes of terrorist activity and possible government response tactics to mitigate terrorist actions.

064-000-00029-2As we watch the new World Trade Center going up in New York, we can be assured that builders are incorporating architectural and construction lessons learned from the World Trade Center Building Performance Study: Data Collection, Preliminary Observations, and Recommendations.

Policy and Legislative Response

United States Congressional Serial Set, Serial No. 14924, House Report No. 724, 9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act, Pts. 1-6 outlines the specific legislative changes enacted by Congress, providing both background and justifications for them along with attribution.

A print copy of the law itself can be purchased here: Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, Public Law 110-53 along with the details of the various committee conferences contributing to it in Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 1, July 25, 2007.

Defending the Homeland since 9/11

041-001-00657-5National Strategy for Homeland Security (October 2007) provides the common framework outlined by the George W. Bush Administration to guides, organize and unify the United States’ homeland security efforts.

008-000-01068-4A new publication from the Air Force Reserve called Turning Point 9.11: Air Force Reserve in the 21st Century, 2001-2011 tells the story of how the Air Force Reserve responded to 9/11 and have contributed to the security of the United States in a post-September 11 world.

050-012-00440-4In a similar vein, Rogue Wave: The U.S. Coast Guard on and After 9/11 chronicles the involvement of the U.S. Coast Guard on that fateful day and the evolving role in national and world security since.  Part of the Coast Guard 9/11 response is told in this touching video about the boatlift to evacuate people from lower Manhattan is told in a video narrated by Tom Hanks entitled: BOATLIFT, An Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience.”

A touching video about the boatlift to evacuate people from lower Manhattan on 9/11 (September 11) is told in a video narrated by Tom Hanks entitled: BOATLIFT, An Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience. Click on the image above or this link to view the “Boatlift” video.

The upcoming U.S. Army War College Guide to National Security Issues, Volume 2: National Security Policy and Strategy provides a summarized look at the national security curriculum now taught to our nation’s top military and civilian leaders by the U.S. Army War College. Revised with the lessons learned from the years since 9/11, this publication includes a chapter on ”Securing America From Attack: The Defense Department’s Evolving Role After 9/11.”

How can I obtain these Federal 9/11 publications?

  • Shop Online: Print Editions of these 9/11-related publications may be ordered from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov, by clicking on the links above in this blog post or shopping our Terrorism & 9/11 History collection under our US & Military History category.
  • Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.
  • Visit our Retail Store: Buy copies of these publications at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.
  • Find them in a Library: Find these publications in a federal depository library.

About the author: Adapted by Trudy Hawkins, Writer and Marketing Specialist in GPO’s Publication & Information Sales Division in Washington, DC, from an original post by Michele Bartram, former Government Book Talk Editor in support of the U.S. Government Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov).


Celebrating National Safety Month: Resources and Publications

June 19, 2014

2014SafetyMonth-FeatureJune is National Safety Month. The National Safety Council (NSC) sponsors this month-long event for calling attention to key safety issues, showcasing safety resources, and raising awareness for the prevention of safety concerns and hazards.

The NSC provides access to a variety of educational National Safety Month materials, available on their Web site for free to NSC members. If your organization isn’t already a member, you can join right from their site. They also provide access to many free materials for the general public. Anyone can sign up to receive the free materials via email.

The National Safety Month Web page also provides access to a free Home Safety Checklist to help you identify common risk areas within your home.

You can also follow the NSC’s safety chat on Twitter at #NSM14.

The U.S. Government Printing Office’s U.S. Government Bookstore offers an entire collection of publications devoted to safety issues: the Emergency Management and First Responders collection. Many of the publications in this collection have been highlighted in previous Government Book Talk posts, like this one from January 2014 that focused on preparing for extreme cold and other natural and man-made disasters and showcased the publication, “Are You Ready? An In-Depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness.” Also highlighted in the post are some books for kids on safety preparedness: “Ready…Set…Prepare! A Disaster Preparedness Activity Book for Ages 4-7,” “Ready…Set…Prepare! A Disaster Preparedness Activity Book for Ages 8-11,” and “Watch Out – Storms Ahead! Owlie Skywarn’s Weather Book.” The Federal Emergency Management Agency also has tons of resources on their site to help the public prepare for disasters of all kinds.

In addition, Federal depository libraries nationwide provide the public with free access to Federal Government publications on a wide variety of topics, including safety and emergency management and prevention. Locate a library in your area!

017-033-00508-7One publication in this collection is particularly interesting, especially in light of the frequent and tragic mine accidents we hear about on the news. “When Do You Take Refuge? Decisionmaking During Mine Emergency Escape – Instructor’s Guide and Lesson Plans” is an interesting booklet created by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services. The training program was designed to help trainees practice correct decisionmaking skills during an underground mine emergency. It actually consists of three parts: a computer-based training that includes scenario simulation (included as a CD-ROM), the instructor’s guide and lesson plans, and an evaluation (both included in the booklet).

The material was designed for underground coal miners, but it is fascinating for anyone who wants a glimpse into this hazardous occupation. The lesson plan portion of the training is filled with real-life examples of emergency scenarios and “summary teaching points” to highlight the lessons. This interesting look into the life of a coal miner brings to light the need for strict safety measures in any occupation. National Safety Month reminds us that safety should be everyone’s priority, both at home and on the job.

How can I get this publication?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy this and other publications mentioned in this blog (with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide) from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore website at http://bookstore.gpo.gov:

Shop our retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday-Friday, 9am to 4pm, except Federal holidays, (202) 512-0132.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal Depository Library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications or CGP.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Kelly Seifert, Lead Planning Specialist for GPO’s Library Services & Content Management Division that supports the Federal Depository Library Program.


Keeping Our Skies Safe, Part 1 of 2: Aviation safety planning and response

April 23, 2014

If you’re like me, hearing the speculation about the disappearance of Malaysia Flight 370 has created a number of questions in your mind about air safety in America and why the United States is taking an active role in this mystery.

malaysia-370In this two-part blog post “Keeping Our Skies Safe”, we review the many processes and policies in place to regulate United States airspace and to protect air travelers, flight personnel and all sorts of aircraft flying U.S. skies. In “Keeping Our Skies Safe, Part 1 of 2: Aviation safety planning & response,” we will cover the many aviation safety publications produced by the United States Federal Government, future plans to keep ahead of evolving flight safety issues, and U.S. emergency response.

“Keeping Our Skies Safe, Part 2 of 2: Aviation safety rules and regulations” will cover the many laws and regulations the United States has put in place to enforce these aviation best practices on everything from gliders and balloons to commercial jet airplanes.

Part 1 of 2: Aviation Safety Planning & Response

International and national aviation safety practices and adherence to them is one of the first places investigators look when reviewing an accident or disappearance of a plane such as is presumed to have happened with Flight 370. In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration or FAA within the Department of Transportation is the Federal agency charged with the “continuing mission… to provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world.” The FAA produces a number of vital publications for the entire aviation industry with guidelines, research, analysis and best practices.

SAFETY BRIEFINGS

faa-safety-briefingThe FAA Safety Briefing magazine provides updates on major US Federal Aviation Administration rule changes and proposed changes, as well as refresher information on flight rules, maintenance airworthiness, avionics, accident analysis, and other topics. A must-have for pilots, air traffic controllers, airplane maintenance personnel and anyone involved in ensuring flying safely.

(6 issues per year. Subscription price covers issues for 1 year)

FAA Safety Briefing magazine is available on a subscription basis from the US Government Bookstore and can be found here to order print copies: http://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/750-002-00000-5?ctid=1736

FAA Safety Briefings individual issues can be found online here at US Federal Aviation Administration: http://www.faa.gov/

The Future of U.S. Air Travel?

What is the Federal Aviation Administration planning in order to deliver a better travel experience in the future with fewer delays and enhanced safety? How is the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration incorporating the passengers’ point of view when thinking about the future plans for the aviation experience? The answers are delivered in the Next Generation (aka “NextGen”) Plan for the FAA.

faa-next-genThe 2013 edition of the NextGen Plan serves as a roadmap of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) ongoing transition to NextGen and provides an overview of the benefits aircraft operators and passengers are receiving from recent NextGen improvements. NextGen is the shift to smarter, satellite-based and digital technologies and new procedures to make air travel more convenient, predictable and environmentally friendly.

Highlights of the Plan include the latest on metroplex initiatives, Performance Based Navigation growth, Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast deployments, surface collaboration and plans for future benefits. The plan devotes an entire chapter to general aviation and recognizes the growing role of this important stakeholder. The outreach document provides FAA stakeholders — including the aviation community, Congress, government oversight entities and the general public — with the latest progress in the transformation of the National Airspace System.

NextGen offers a better travel experience, with fewer delays, more predictable trips and enhanced safety.People who live near airports may experience less aircraft noise and fewer emissions. NextGen will increase the predictability and reliability of airport operations, enhancing the role of airports as economic engines for the communities they serve. NextGen is vital to preserving aviation’s significant contributions to our national economy.

You can download the FREE ePub NextGen Implementation Plan available here: http://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/050-300-00005-6  or from the FAA agency website.

The U.S. Navy’s Role in Aviation Safety

us-navy-logo(Google Images –Photo image compliments of en.wikipedia.org)

The US Navy is very involved with the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Flight 370. What do our Navy personnel responsible for protecting American by use of the oceans know about recovery of “black boxes”?

An Underwater Ice Station Zebra: Recovering a KH-9 Hexagon Capsule From 16,400 Feet Below the Pacific Ocean: Selected Declassified CIA DocumentsOne reason why the US Navy may be involved with the tracking of the submersion of the Malaysia Flight 370” black box” may be attributed to their significant expertise in this area. In fact, the US Navy has been involved in deep sea recovery for decades. As you read the story of An Underwater Ice Station Zebra: Recovering a KH-9 Hexagon Capsule From 16,400 Feet Below the Pacific Ocean: Selected Declassified CIA Documents, you will learn that the U.S. Navy ‘s advanced method at deep submersible recovery began in 1972 with the Trieste II (DSV-1). Publicly called a “data package,” the object was actually part of a U.S. spy satellite, codenamed HEXAGON. Before today’s digital technology, photo reconnaissance satellites used film, which returned to Earth in capsules ejected from the satellite. The capsules, called “buckets,” reentered Earth’s atmosphere and deployed a parachute to slow their descent.

During the first HEXAGON mission in 1971, the parachute broke off causing the bucket to crash into the ocean. This release includes photos of the capsule on the ocean floor, pictures of the Trieste II (DSV-1), and an article recounting the deepest undersea salvage then attempted.

If you would like to read about the US Navy’s fascinating recovery of the HEXAGON, you can purchase this title at the US Government Bookstore at this link: http://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/041-015-00294-5

U.S. Emergency Response

When disaster strikes including transportation accidents, the US Federal Government often provides expertise to emergency responders. The U.S. has expanded its emergency response knowledge base and capacity since the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks on 9/11 and now has many bestselling titles available relating to Disaster / Emergency Response.

Emergency Response Guidebook 2012 available at http://bookstore.gpo.govThe official Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) is a guide for use by transporters, firefighters, police, and other emergency services personnel who may be the first to arrive at the scene of a transportation incident involving a hazardous material, such as an oil or chemical spill. It is used by first responders in:

(1) quickly identifying the specific or generic classification of the material(s) involved in the incident, and

(2) protecting themselves and the general public during this initial response phase of the incident.

The ERG is updated every three to four years to accommodate new products and technology.

This title is available for purchase at the US Government Bookstore at this link: http://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/050-000-00596-8

U.S. Coast Guard Incident Management Handbook assists Coast Guard personnel in response to oil spills, search and rescue operations and other emergency situations on the water.

us-coast-guard-incident-handbookThe Coast Guard Incident Management Handbook (IMH) is designed to assist Coast Guard personnel in the use of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) Incident Command System (ICS) during multi-contingency response operations and planned events. The Incident Management Handbook is an easy reference job aid for responders. Also useful for other waterway rescue and police operations.Read the table of contents and purchase this title at this link on the US Government Bookstore: http://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/050-012-00465-0

This title is also available in a Spanish-language version,Manual Para el Manejo de Incidentes / Servicios de Guardacostas and can be purchased here: http://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/050-012-00473-1

Department of Defense Support to Foreign Disaster Relief Handbook And finally, Department of Defense Support to Foreign Disaster Relief (Handbook for JTF Commanders and Below) is a manual for personnel involved in a foreign disaster relief mission, including a search for a missing airplane.

A classified version exists only for certain military personnel, but the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) also released this unclassified version that can be used not only by members of the military, but also by anyone involved in U.S. foreign disaster response JTF (Joint Task Force) operations, including U.S. Government agencies, international organizations, Intergovernmental Organizations (IGO) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO).

This handbook covers the: legal authority and principles; operational context and planning factors; both supporting groups and supported foreign disaster relief organizations; and DOD guidelines for interaction with the U.S. Department of State and US Agency for International Development (US-AID) and NGOs and International Organizations such as the United Nations and International Red Cross and Red Crescent.

Read more about this information-packed handbook in our previous blog post: The U.S. military storms to the rescue in foreign disaster relief.”

How Can I get these aviation safety publications ?

  • Shop Online Anytime: You can buy these eBooks and print publications (with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide) from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore website at http://bookstore.gpo.gov:
  • Order by Phone: You may also order print editions by calling our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.
  • Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.
  • Visit a Federal Depository Library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications or CGP.

About the Author – This week’s blog contributor is Maureen Whelan, Senior Marketing Team Leader for GPO’s Publication & Information Sales division program office in Washington, DC.  Maureen oversees print and digital content dissemination strategy and manages third party free and paid content distribution platforms and vendors such as Apple iBookstore, Google Play eBookstore, EBSCOhost, Overdrive, and more. Additionally, Maureen’s commercial publishing industry experience with publishing requirements, copyrights, product formats and content metadata and search optimization have helped Federal agencies publications be more discoverable through these consumer channels. A few examples of commercially popular Federal print books that were successfully migrated to digital include The Healthy Woman and The Basic Guide to Exporting.


The Real stories of MASH and disease-fighting Armed Forces medical scientists

April 9, 2014
TV Week final episode cover depicting M*A*S*H television show cast

TV Week final episode cover depicting M*A*S*H television show cast. Did you know that the character of MASH 4077th’s head nurse “Hot Lips” Margaret Houlihan was inspired by two real-life Korean War Army MASH head nurses “Hotlips” Hammerly and Janie Hall?

The music starts. The lyrics to the haunting song “Suicide is Painless” play in your head. The sound and sight of helicopters enter and then you are looking down from the helicopters view on a village of tents and red crosses. The television series M*A*S*H, based on the 1970 movie that was set during the Korean War at the fictitious 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital or M*A*S*H, established itself as one of the greatest shows in history. The show was on air from 1972-1983, and it still lives on today in syndication.

The series finale was broadcasted on February 28, 1983 to 105.9 million viewers, becoming the most watched television broadcast of all time. The record held for nearly three decades until the 2010 Superbowl surpassed M*A*S*H’s record with 106.5 million viewers. The show had the ability to make you cry from both a comedic and emotional standpoint striking a unique balance unlike many shows.

But sometimes real life can be as fascinating as fiction. Learn about the real-life exploits of a genuine Army MASH unit and of brave medical researchers fighting tropical diseases in southeast Asia with two recent Armed Forces medical history publications from the U.S. Army Medical Center and School’s Borden Institute.

Skilled and Resolute: A History of the 12th Evacuation Hospital and the 212th MASH, 1917-2006 ISBN: 9780160922534Skilled and Resolute: A History of the 12th Evacuation Hospital and the 212th MASH, 1917-2006 follows the 90-year history of a medical unit, the 12th Evacuation Hospital and its successor the 212th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, which served in military engagements from World War I to Operation Iraqi Freedom as well as many peacekeeping and humanitarian missions. The unit’s goal is to be trained, equipped, and deployable at a moment’s notice.

There are some gruesome pictures in the Vietnam War section, but overall the book is a fascinating read about how medical techniques evolved with warfare practices in makeshift hospitals close to front lines. In 2006, the unit transformed once again to the 212th Combat Support Hospital and was deployed to Afghanistan.

Lt. General George S. Patton visits the US Army 12th Evacuation Hospital (MASH) to award decorations to the World War 2 wounded. (Photo courtesy U.S. Army Medical Department, Office of Medical History)

Lt. General George S. Patton visits the US Army 12th Evacuation Hospital (MASH) to award decorations to the wounded. Patton would later infamously get in trouble for slapping a soldier at another World War 2 hospital who was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or combat stress reaction (CSR), which was called shell shock starting in WW 1.  (Photo courtesy U.S. Army Medical Department, Office of Medical History)

The photos in the book look like scenes out of the M*A*S*H television series; you can picture Radar turning is head to the side, pausing to listen and exclaiming “Choppers!” to be followed by the sound of helicopters.

Getting the sick and wounded from the front to a MASH unit during the Korean War. (Image courtesy http://www.koreanwar60.com/army)

Army helicopters were critical for evacuating the sick and wounded from the front to a MASH unit ambulance during the Korean War. (Image courtesy http://www.koreanwar60.com/army)

The Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences (AFRIMS), 1960-2010: a 50th Anniversary Photographic History ISBN: 9780160918315The Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences (AFRIMS), 1960-2010: a 50th Anniversary Photographic History is a lean coffee table book organized by decade. The black and white and color photographs tell the story of AFRIMS – a medical military partnership between the United Sates and Thailand that was founded in response to a cholera epidemic in Thailand in 1959. Within 10 years, a laboratory was built and AFRIMS established the reputation of being a major force in tropical medical research. In the 1970s, the lab played a crucial role in researching and developing treatment for tropical diseases inflicting the military serving in the Vietnam War.

Technology advancements in the 1980s were adapted by AFRIMS and helped with storing and organizing research. In the 1990s and the first decade of the new century, AFRIMS conducted trials impacting the research on vaccines for hepatitis A, malaria, and HIV. The photographs are very compelling and effectively share history while showing the way they conducted research and interacted with the Thai community.

AFRIMS Captain Michael "Mike" Benenson (future USAMC director)  returns a “wai” while the study team prepares medications in the 1973 malaria drug prophylaxis study. (Photograph courtesy of Dr. Michael Benenson)

AFRIMS Captain Michael “Mike” Benenson (future USAMC director) returns a child’s “wai” greeting while the study team prepares medications in the 1973 malaria drug prophylaxis study. (Book photograph courtesy of Dr. Michael Benenson)

HOW DO I GET A COPY OF THESE BOOKS?

About the author: Our guest blogger is Emma Wojtowicz, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Office of Public Affairs. 

Additional images and content provided by Government Book Talk Editor Michele Bartram is Promotions and Ecommerce Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division in Washington, DC, and is responsible for online and offline marketing of the US Government Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov) and promoting Federal government content to the public.


Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One… a Top Ten List of Funny Federal Titles

April 1, 2014

A few weeks ago, Jennifer Davis’ supervisor delivered a challenge to her via email: write a story about humorous government document titles for April Fool’s Day. (Read various stories about the origins of April Fool’s Day here, here and here.) April Fool’s humor has had a long history with American Government, dating back to Founding Father Benjamin Franklin (read caption below).

Benjamin Franklin wearing an ostentatious fake moustache for April Fool's Day

According to news humor site “Weekly World News”, the American founding father of April Fool’s Day was Benjamin Franklin. Since Franklin, April 1st has been synonymous in America for a day of practical jokes and general mischief. Tales of his exploits were published in the Philadelphia Gazette on the 1st of April every year. For example, says the site, he was known to give entire public speeches on April 1 wearing an ostentatious fake moustache. ;-) Can you believe it? (Image courtesy of Weekly World News.)- M. Bartram

Says Jennifer: “I love reading government documents for their data and their fascinating stories, but I usually wouldn’t consider them to be laugh-out-loud funny. Or as a colleague said, “They’re not Abbott and Costello funny”. But everyone’s got to laugh some time, right? And when I searched GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP), and picked my colleagues’ brains, I found that Uncle Sam sometimes gets his chuckles, too. I found more titles than these ten—but I want to save some for another occasion. There have been a few other lists of humorous government documents, not all of them Federal titles, circulating around the Internet, and so I’ve tried to keep this list as unique as possible.”

(If you like the topic of this column, you should visit the Washington State University’s exhibit, The Lighter Side of…. The Government Printing Office, which runs through June 28, 2014.)

[Michele Bartram Editor's Note: Over the years, Government Book Talk has also highlighted some funny Federal publication titles within previous blog posts including: Society through a Comic Lens, The Nuttall Tick CatalogueDr. Seuss, U.S. Army, Sprocket Man!War Games, and Ponzimonium. You'll chuckle over the odd, quirky, ironic or inadvertently funny titles of the books mentioned!]

All of these titles in this blog post have records in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications, and you might be able to find a copy in your local Federal depository library, or find one at your regional library. Click here for a list of Federal Depository Libraries (the Federal Depository Library Directory or FDLD). Since many of these Government documents —books, posters, pamphlets and PDFs— are older than five years, you might have to search a bit to find a copy. When available, we have provided links for the electronic version of these titles.

Below is the list of Top 10 funniest titles that Jennifer provided, along with additional details about each.

TOP 10 FUNNIEST TITLES

Gobbledygook_has-gotta-go_green-cover1) Gobbledygook has Gotta Go. This Bureau of Land Management title about the problems with Government writing is a classic, and a precursor to the “Plain Language” initiative today to simplify the wording in communications. It has been cited in several collected lists of funny titles, and it’s the only time I cheated and included it in my list anyway.  Gobbledygook is just such a great word to say, and the alliteration makes the title even funnier. You can read a scanned copy of this book here.

2) Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic. All of our GPO office mates agree: this comic has got to be the most fun Federal government document to date.  The CDC was smart and exploited the current interest in zombies, and made an emergency preparedness checklist into a comic on preparing for the “zombie pandemic”. In this comic, the scientists of the CDC are the superheroes, isolating the virus “Z5N1” and developing a vaccine in record time, while the locals develop a checklist of emergency supplies so they can stay inside their home. Just the title alone is enough to make you smile—and it gets its point across. You can read the entire publication online here.

cdc-preparedness-101-zombie-pandemic

3) This is a Dumb Bunny. I love the idea of the Federal government calling someone a “dumb bunny”. Even if the document it is quite literally the image of a rabbit, which spoils some of the fun, I am still tickled by the idea of a snarky Uncle Sam. The poster’s actually about smoking cessation.

"This is a dumb bunny!" anti-smoking 1970s poster from the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare

4) Safety is as Stupid Does!!  I know what the goal was with this title. The poster (seen on the University of Iowa Digital Library) makes it clear to the intended audience of military personnel that not thinking hurts safety on the job. However, I think the title missed the mark. It’s funny in its own right.

Safety-is-as-stupid-does_DOD-poster

5) Do Mandrakes Really Scream?  A colleague of mine is a huge Harry Potter fan. She said cataloging this title was the pinnacle of her career. It’s the online exhibition catalog of an National Library of Medicine (NLM) History of Medicine exhibit relating NLM’s historical holdings and the magic and medicine of Harry Potter.

If you read the Harry Potter series, you’ll know what the title is referring to. If you haven’t read the series, check out this free exhibit first; you might find yourself diving into the book series afterwards.

National Library of Medicine NLM "Do Mandrakes Really Scream? Magic and Medicine in Harry Potter" website

6) USDA Saves French Donkey.  The title of this mid-1980s US Department of Agriculture publication just speaks for itself.

[Editor's note: Probably the publication refers to this 1985 story reported in the Los Angeles Times about a rare 7-month-old curly haired French Poitou donkey named Sonette at the San Diego Zoo: "Rare Donkey Passes Test, Can Stay Here"]

French Poitou donkey has dreadlocks that need a haircut

The rare French Baudet du Poitou donkey breed is born with curly hair that naturally grows into long dreadlocks as an adult. This one hasn’t had a haircut in 17 years! (Source: The Telegraph – UK)

7) Self-Motion Perception and Motion Sickness: Final Report for the Project  NASA’s report on a motion sickness project makes me want to just… stop… moving! Read about it on NASA’s website.

NASA-astronauts-with-motion-sicknessAbove: NASA astronauts in zero gravity try to fend off the effects of motion sickness.  To learn more about motion sickness, watch this 3-minute TED Talk animated video about “The Mystery of Motion Sickness.”

America the Beautiful: A Collection of the Nation's Trashiest Humor with comic strips about solid waste or trash8) America the Beautiful: Collection of the Nation’s Trashiest Humor. Not only is the title funny, but the book’s content promises humor as well. This is publication number 2048 of The U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, originally published in 1970. The book consists of thirty comics, from the funny pages like B.C., and some from the editorial pages of publications from the New Yorker to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, all focusing on the problem of waste disposal. You can read the publication in its entirety online at the EPA’s website.

9) French Meadows: Hell Hole Recreation Areas. Although the area is really quite lovely, there’s a problem with image marketing in this U.S. Forest Service tourism brochure.

French-Meadows-Hell-Hole-Reservoir

Poster for The Vampire Bat movie starring Fay Wray10) Controlling Vampire Bats.  This serious US Agency for International Development publication about controlling the spread of rabies through these creatures nevertheless evokes shades of Tippi Hedren… Don’t you get a mental picture of people running down the street away from the bats, waving their arms over their heads and screaming, à la The Birds? Or Fay Wray being controlled by an evil vampire in bat form in the movie “The Vampire Bat” (movie poster image at the right)? Maybe I’ve read too many zombie comics.

How can I find these funny-titled Federal publications?

In addition to clicking on the links in the article above to find the publications, you may find these publications from the following:

  • Visit a Federal Depository Library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library.
  • Visit a Public Library: Ask your local public librarian about Federal Government books available to check out as well as Federal eBooks that may be available for library patrons to digitally download through the library’s Overdrive subscription.

And to find popular current Federal publications, you may:

  • Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks as well as print publications (with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide) from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore website at http://bookstore.gpo.gov
  • Order by Phone: You may also Order print editions by calling GPO’s  Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.
  • Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

About the author: Adapted and expanded by Michele Bartram, Government Book Talk Editor and Promotions Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division in Washington, DC, from an original post by Jennifer K. Davis, formerly from GPO’s Library Services & Content Management Division that supports the Federal Depository Libraries Program (FDLP).

Have a fun and funny April Fool’s Day!


“Are you Ready?” for Extreme Cold and Other Natural and Man-made Disasters

January 23, 2014

Image below: Graph depicts how variations in the polar vortex affect weather in the mid-latitudes. Courtesy: National Science Foundation

Polar-vortex-fall-to-winter-chartAs the United States shivers under the Arctic Express, Polar Vortex, Polar Cyclone, Polar Low, Circumpolar Whirl or whatever name you call it (I just call it FREEZING!!!!) with snow, ice, and some of the most extreme cold conditions in decades, Americans will be happy to know that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has help available in the form of its extremely useful new disaster preparedness guide, Are You Ready?: An In-Depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness.

FEMA Are You Ready?: An In-Depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness ISBN: 9780160920745Intended as both a reference source as well as a step-by-step manual, this easy-to-follow guide has been designed to help Americans “learn how to protect themselves and their families against all types of hazards”.

According to the FEMA authors:

The focus of the content is on how to develop, practice, and maintain emergency plans that reflect what must be done before, during, and after a disaster to protect people and their property. Also included is information on how to assemble a disaster supplies kit that contains the food, water, and other supplies in sufficient quantity for individuals and their families to survive following a disaster in the event they must rely on their own resources.

The guide advises on planning before a disaster, responding during a disaster, and recovering after a disaster and is organized into the following sections: Why Prepare, Part 1 Basic Preparedness, Part 2 Natural Hazards, Part 3 Technological Hazards, Part 4 Terrorism, and Part 5 Recovering from Disaster.

Each chapter has specific tips on preparation, what to do during the particular disaster, instructions for what to do afterwards, and where to go for more information, including links for free publications.

Disasters and emergencies cover the gamut in three areas:

a)      Natural Hazards, including: Floods, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Thunderstorms and Lightning, Winter Storms and Extreme Cold,  Extreme Heat, Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Landslides and Debris Flow (Mudslide), Tsunamis, Fires and Wildfires;

b)      Technological Hazards, including:  Hazardous Materials Incidents, Household Chemical Emergencies, and Nuclear Power Plants

c)      Terrorism, including: General terrorist threats, Explosions, Biological Threats, Chemical Threats, Nuclear Blast, and Radiological Dispersion Device (RDD).

Are You Ready?… for Winter Storms and Extreme Cold

FEMA-Are-You-Ready_page-80-Winter-Storms-and-Extreme-ColdAs I was concerned about the extreme cold, I turned to Part 2, Natural Hazards, Section 2.5 Winter Storms and Extreme Cold.

In the preparation part, I found useful terminology such as the difference between sleet and freezing rain, protective measures and supplies to gather, tips on how to winterize my car (e.g., have you cleaned your car battery terminals and used gasoline additives to keep water out of your fuel lines?) and how to dress for the winter weather (did you know mittens are warmer than gloves?).

FEMA-Are-You-Ready_page-83-Winter-Dress-for-ColdDuring a winter storm, “Are you ready?” gives more advice, such as what to do if a blizzard traps you in the car and how to watch for signs of hypothermia.

[Signs of hypothermia]… include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion. If symptoms of hypothermia are detected, get the victim to a warm location, remove wet clothing, warm the center of the body first, and give warm, non-alcoholic beverages if the victim is conscious. Get medical help as soon as possible.

Other Useful Information in “Are You Ready?”

In addition to information on specific types of emergencies, the guide includes a number of other very useful resources.

Assembling a Disaster Supplies Kit:  A whole chapter is devoted to assembling a good general disaster supplies kit for multiple locations: home, work and vehicle.

Practice Makes Perfect: Advice on how to practice and maintain your emergency plan is under Section 1.6.

General Evacuation Guidelines:  Tells what to do to prepare your home if you have to evacuate, such as utility shut-off and safety, reviewing and securing of insurance and vital records, and so on.

Special Needs: Information on how to do disaster planning to accommodate someone with disabilities is included.

Pets: Caring for pets in emergencies is not forgotten, either.

FEMA Hazard Maps: It highlights how to get free hazard maps from FEMA in your area by accessing FEMA’s Hazard Mapping Portal.

Homeland-Security-Threat-Assessments-Color-MatrixWarning Systems and Signals: The guide explains different national alert systems such as the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio (NWR), as well as the Homeland Security Advisory System with its Threat Conditions thermometer.

Quizzes: The guide even includes some quizzes such as the Terrorism Knowledge Check on page 172 that asks such questions as:

What would you do, if you were at work and…

a. there was an explosion in the building?

b. you received a package in the mail that you considered suspicious?

c. you received a telephone call that was a bomb threat?

Mental Health Issues: Tips are included on how to recognize if children vs. adults may need crisis counseling or stress management assistance as well as how to ease disaster-related stress (such as attending memorial services). For children, guidelines are included by age range of common reactions to traumatic events, along with tips on how adults can reassure children after a disaster.

For additional information about Federal mental and medical emergency resources, read our previous blog post: “Help is Just a Call, Click or Page Away: Federal Disaster Helplines & Emergency Medical Resources.”

Family Forms: The guide is customizable to you and your family with forms to fill out for your own emergency plans. Included is a form for you to use to fill out information as you collect it from your local authorities on possible hazards and emergencies in your community, the Risk Level and how to reduce your risk, along with a “Community and Other Plans” form to use to record answers from your local officials about your community’s disaster and emergency plans.  Also included is a form to draw and to record your family’s specific evacuation route and another to record your Family Communications Plan.

Checklists and Appendices: The guide also includes some handy appendices: Appendix A: Water Conservation Tips, Appendix B: Disaster Supplies Checklist, and the all-important Appendix C: Family Communications Plan.

Preparedness Websites: One is a list of Disaster Public Education Websites from both the Federal Government such as FEMA’s own Ready.gov site (www.ready.gov), as well as non-Governmental sites, like the Institute for Business and Home Safety, www.ibhs.org.

Disaster Recovery Assistance: Finally, advice and resources for getting disaster recovery assistance are covered in the Are You Ready? guide, too.

FEMA Are You Ready?: An In-Depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness ISBN: 9780160920745How can I get a copy ofAre You Ready?: An In-Depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness”?

Whether you live near an active volcano; in Tornado Alley or a Hurricane Zone; in wildfire, mudslide or flood-prone areas; or just want to be prepared for any emergency—natural or man-made—this guide will help you save the day!

  • MULTIPLE COPIES: FEMA recommends having a completed guide for each location for your family members: home, work or school, and your vehicle(s). Fill out the customizable sections in each copy with your relevant family, workplace and community information.
  • Shop Online: You can buy this publication from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov by:
  • Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.
  • Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.
  • Digital: Find a PDF version on the FEMA site.
  • Visit a Federal Depository Library: Search for it in a nearby Federal depository library.

About the Author: Government Book Talk Editor Michele Bartram is Promotions Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division in Washington, DC, and is responsible for online and offline marketing of the US Government Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov) and promoting Federal government content to the public.


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