Playlist for The Big One | Trouble in the Wind – Rising

There’s something rambling, shabby and just a little bit dangerous in the musings of Carlsbad, California-based alt folkies Trouble in the Wind.

Robby Gira plays acoustic guitar and provides the vocals.. although merely writing the word ‘vocals’ does nothing to describe the other-worldly hillbilly-esque sounds this man lays down with every track.

The whole band is strong yet not in an overpowering way – Larry Doran (drums), Kyle Merritt (banjo, accordion, piano), Trevor Mulvey (bass) all contribute in part and collectively to the unique sound of Trouble in the Wind.

The song ‘Rising’ is an amazing piece and it’s this evening’s add to the Big Med Playlist for The Big One. Find comfortable chair, ease down into it, put feet up, open cold beer and enjoy.

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Greater London | Covent Garden receives lifesaving gear and training

Covent Garden | 19 April 2012

Visitors to Covent Garden can now be assured of receiving the very best in service from the first aid team, following the installation of a defibrillator.

Defibrillators are machines that can deliver a shock to restart a patient’s heart should they suffer a cardiac arrest – when the heart stops pumping blood around the body.

The 14-strong security team at Covent Garden Market will now be on hand to deliver this lifesaving care if needed 24 hours a day.

The Service is responsible for over 750 public-access defibrillators around the capital, placed in tourist attractions, transport hubs, shopping centres and sports facilities.

Last year the scheme helped to save eight patients who had suffered a cardiac arrest to be discharged from hospital.

Community Resuscitation Training Officer Malcolm Ritchie said: “With a cardiac arrest every second counts in the delivery of first aid. When a person’s heart stops there is limited time in which to deliver a shock, and after that time has passed there is little chance of survival.

“The work of the team at Covent Garden Market is extremely important in helping more people to survive cardiac arrest, and we are delighted with the commitment they have shown.”

General Manager Simon Morrison from Covent Garden Market said: “Covent Garden attracts over 44 million visitors a year and we are really pleased to have this life-saving equipment now on site.

“The defibrillator will enable our staff to carry out lifesaving care in even the most extreme of situations and we are very grateful to be able to offer this service as a part of our ongoing mission to make Covent Garden both an enjoyable and safe destination.”

Gatwick | Follow-up on major trauma response at Gatwick Airport

Gatwick Airport | 18 April 2012

South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) treated casualties with a range of injuries at Gatwick Airport after a plane was forced to make an emergency landing.

After passengers disembarked via the aircraft’s escape chutes, SECAmb clinicians, supported by specialist paramedic practitioners and duty officers at the airport’s North Terminal assessed and treated patients who had suffered injuries sustained while evacuating the plane.

Dr Jane Pateman, SECAmb Medical Director, said: “We received a call that a plane had experienced an in-flight emergency at 12:23pm today. We have a pre-planned response to such an incident which swung into action immediately. A number of crews and specialist hazardous area response teams (HART) were deployed to Gatwick airport’s North Terminal. They worked very closely with other 999 services, Gatwick Airport Authority and Virgin Atlantic staff to ensure that all passengers were rapidly assessed and treated.

“A total of 15 patients were transferred to hospital, 14 of which went to two major trauma centres, at St George’s Hospital and Royal Sussex County Hospital suffering from suspected fractures.

“Planned treatment of all patients with major injuries at designated specialist centres is a new system that was implemented across England on April 2 this year. This was the first time that the system had been tested with a significant incident of this nature.

“We are very pleased to say that the system worked extremely well and that we were able to maintain our normal service to members of the public whilst dealing with this incident and ensuring that all patients affected received appropriate treatment.”

In addition to the emergency ambulances sent to the airport the Trust has mobilised patient transport service (PTS) vehicles to transport those patients who were assessed as having minor injuries.

The Trust has maintained operational resilience across its network and is responding to 999 calls as normal. No major incident has been declared by the Trust.

Staffordshire | SFRS featured in Top 50 Employers for Women list

Becci Bryant, Peter Darftord and Diane Dunlevey

Staffordshire | 19 April 2012

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is celebrating after making it into The Times Top 50 Employers for Women list. The list features the top organisations nationally that are leading the way in gender equality in the workplace.

The list features well known international companies with Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service being the only local authority to feature in the list.

The Service was required to provide examples of how it motivated women, the action it was taking to ensure the organisation was a top employer for women and what impact the work was having. Examples the Service provided included; the number of women in managerial positions, the proportion of female firefighters, the development of an equality and diversity strategy and plan and work within the local community promoting the opportunities for women in the fire and rescue service.

Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive Peter Dartford: “For a fire and rescue service to be recognised as leading the way nationally for gender equality in the workplace is a fantastic accolade and one that we are very proud of. The majority of organisations that feature in the list are top international companies so for us, as such a small organisation in comparison, this is a massive achievement which speaks volumes about the type of organisation we are.

“Unfortunately firefighting is still often seen as a male dominated profession but we’ve worked hard to dispel this myth and as a result we have one of the highest proportions of female firefighters in the country.”
The list and special supplement are produced in partnership with Opportunity Now, the gender campaign from Business in the Community.

Helen Wells, director of Opportunity Now, said: “Any organisation included in the Times Top 50 Employers for Women list has to be commended for its commitment to actively recruiting, retaining and progressing female talent. The high number of entries and incredibly high standard of work being done towards gender equality and inclusion meant the judging process was extremely competitive, but what stood out as a common attribute for all 2012 Top 50 Employers was a clear focus on integration, innovation and impact.

“Being included in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women list demonstrates a focus on creating an inclusive and diverse workplace that utilises the skills and talent of men and women. It is a clear statement that senior leaders see this as a commercial imperative, not a women’s issue.”

Nottinghamshire | Top honour for bravery

Nottinghamshire | 19 April 2012

Nottinghamshire’s Chief Fire Officer Frank Swann has congratulated four of his firefighters on being awarded “one of the greatest honours it is possible for anyone to achieve”.

Andrew Alexander (38), Sanjeev Mohla (34), Daniel Wareham (28) and Matthew Willis (29) of Stockhill Fire Station have each been awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal. The medal, which is only one level below the George Medal, is awarded to civilians for acts of exemplary bravery.

The four men were nominated for the honour after responding to a major gas explosion at a house close to the fire station in June 2010 that left two people with dramatic life-changing injuries and destroyed the property.

They had left the station and were en-route to another emergency call when the explosion happened in Stockhill Lane, just as they were passing. They stopped immediately and went into the crumbling property to attempt to rescue the occupants. Despite the dangers of further explosions and building collapse, they carried two critically injured adults clear of the property and delivered them into the hands of waiting paramedics.

“This was an extraordinary act of bravery,” said Frank Swann. “Firefighters potentially put their lives on the line every day of the week, but this crew displayed incredible bravery and selflessness by responding to a situation that happened, literally in front of their eyes. At that early stage of an explosion anything could have happened, but they put concerns for their own safety aside and focused completely on rescuing the injured.

“The Queen’s Gallantry Medal is only awarded in exceptional circumstances and I am so proud that four of my firefighters have been honoured in this way.”

The four Firefighters, Crew Manager Jonathan Wilson, Crew Manager Gary Hodgkins and Station Manager Chris Clark have already received the Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation for their role in the team response to this incident.

The Government’s Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser Sir Ken Knight said: “I wish to pass on my personal congratulations to these firefighters whose skill and professionalism upholds the best traditions of the Fire and Rescue Service.

“Firefighters Andrew Alexander, Sanjeev Mohla, Matthew Willis and Daniel Wareham demonstrated immense courage and professionalism to search for and rescue two seriously injured casualties in a partially collapsed building following a large gas explosion.”

Scotland | Tayside’s former Chief Fire Officer sounds off on move to single national service

Tayside | 19 April 2012

Tayside’s former chief fire officer Stephen Hunter says he ”respects” the decision that will end the service he led for the last 11 years.

Mr Hunter, who stood down last month, believes Tayside Fire and Rescue could have made the necessary financial cuts to have survived as a single service. Tayside Fire and Rescue will be absorbed into a single Scottish force next year along with seven other regional services.

Mr Hunter had a 33-year career with Tayside Fire and Rescue having held the service’s top job since 2001. He opposed the move while he was chief fire officer, but he now supports the Scottish Government’s plan for a single service.

”I respect the people who took the decision. Personally, having served for the last 33 years as a firefighter up to a chief fire officer, I think Tayside Fire and Rescue could have delivered the majority of the financial savings required while still delivering a high-quality service,” he said.

”The Chief Fire Officers Association had preferred a regional structure. However, we agreed that whatever the announcement was, we would support it. All the chiefs are committed to deliver a quality single service.”

Mr Hunter was encouraged by the large number of Tayside Fire and Rescue managers involved in the process of setting up the single service.

He said: ”I would like the single service to take an objective look at the recent reports of the eight Scottish services. If it takes the best of these reports — and in Tayside there will be a lot to take — the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will be a world-class service.”

Mr Hunter said a combination of uncertainty over his future role in the single service and the financial benefit of his retiral to Tayside Fire and Rescue had led to his decision to stand down.

He said: ”Retiring next year could have been an option. But, after being chief for 11 years and achieving a massive amount within Tayside, I think it would have been strange to potentially be working to someone else’s agenda. I discussed retiring as a money-saving option and the board said it was one of the options they wanted to pursue.”

Mr Hunter’s decision was approved at a meeting of the Tayside Fire and Rescue Board two weeks ago. He said his proudest achievement as fire chief was ”working with a fantastic team”.

He added: ”Every single member is highly motivated and highly enthusiastic. We have carried out 40,000 home fire safety visits over the last three years. That surpasses every other service in Scotland by a massive amount.”

Mr Hunter said there had been ”no low points” in his tenure, which included his recommendation that Broughty Ferry’s Balmossie station be downgraded — a move he defends.

He said: ”As chief fire officer, I have to deal with facts and evidence. I had professional obligations to Tayside Fire and Rescue Board. As a public servant I realised I worked within a political environment. Balmossie is a classic example of what happens when you work within that environment.”

Research | Football-related catastrophic brain injuries on the rise

Chapel Hill NC | 19 April 2012

Catastrophic brain injuries associated with full-contact football appear to be rising, especially among high school students, according to a new report.

The increase is alarming and indicates more coaches and athletic trainers should change how they teach the fundamental skills of the game, according to researchers based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Until recently, the number of football-related brain injuries with permanent disability in high school had remained in the single digits since 1984. However, the tally rose to 10 injuries in 2008 and 2009, and there were 13 in 2011, according to the latest catastrophic football injury research annual report from the UNC-based National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research.

“These 2011 numbers are the highest since we began collecting catastrophic brain injury data,” said Fred Mueller, Ph.D., the report’s lead author, director of the center and professor emeritus of exercise and sports science in the College of Arts and Sciences. “This is a major problem.”

About 4.2 million football players compete nationwide, including 1.1 million high schoolers.

The center has collected data and published annual reports on catastrophic football injuries, including fatalities, disabilities and serious injuries, for 48 years. The National Collegiate Athletic Association, National Federation of State High School Associations and the American Football Coaches Association fund the research.

The center’s work is believed to be directly responsible for nearly eliminating football fatalities, as well as drastically reducing the number of cervical cord injuries to single digits, between the late 1960s and the early 1990s.

Since 1977, about 67 percent of football-related catastrophic injuries have been suffered by players as they made tackles. Mueller said part of the problem is that despite being prohibited in 1976, head-to-head contact – such as butt-blocking, face tackling or spearing tackles – is still occurring. These strategies make the head the initial and primary contact point with an opposing player, and often lead to cervical spine fractures or permanent brain injuries.

Some players recover fully after surgery and rehabilitation following injuries. However, many only recover partially, living with paralysis or mental deficiency, relying on intensive lifetime medical care. Since 1984, there have been 488 cervical cord and cerebral injuries with incomplete recovery, including 164 brain injuries, of which 148 were among high schoolers. Additionally, the years between 2001 to 2010 saw a 25 percent jump in football-related disability brain injuries over the previous decade, increasing to 66 from 52 incidents among all types of players.

Other potential reasons for the apparent increase in brain injuries may be because of heightened awareness of the issue. Also, this year’s report updated the number of football participants. However, Mueller noted that neither of these factors likely influenced the overall figures, since the report’s definition of catastrophic injuries (defined as injuries that resulted in brain or spinal cord injury or skull or spine fracture, which involved some disability at the time of the accident) and data collection methods have remained unchanged.

Mueller said reversing the trend required several changes, which some in the football community are already implementing. Coaches must be well versed in the signs and symptoms of concussions, such as headaches, dizziness, nausea and light sensitivity, and pull players from games if they exhibit those indicators. Players should not return to play until cleared by a physician. Teams also should hold pre-season meetings to discuss concussions, conduct medical evaluations of all players and emphasize that the head should not be used in tackling or blocking.

The report’s recommendations also note that schools should hire coaches who teach proper fundamental skills, and retain athletic trainers certified by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. Referees must be vigilant about throwing flags when they see illegal tackles and parents also must be involved in meetings and discussions about concussions.

“All of these measures are important if we want to continue to make a positive impact on the game,” he said. “We have to continue research in this area. Accurate data not only indicate problem spots, but they also help us offer appropriate precautions and reveal the adequacy of our preventive measures.”

The report’s co-author is Dr. Robert C. Cantu, chair of surgery and chief of neurological service at Emerson Hospital in Concord, Mass.

Report webpage (PDF file):

Research | Nearly 1 in 4 grandparents store prescription medicines where children can easily find them

Ann Arbor MI | 19 April 2012

Unintentional poisonings from medicines cause more emergency room visits for young children each year than do car accidents.

One key reason may be that nearly 1 of every 4 grandparents says that they store prescription medicines in easy-access ways, according to a new poll.

The University of Michigan Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health recently asked parents and grandparents of children aged 1 to 5 years about the presence of medicines in their homes and how they are stored.

“Every 10 minutes a young child in the U.S. is taken to the emergency room because of possible poisoning from swallowing a prescription medicine or over-the-counter medicine,” says Matthew M. Davis, M.D., M.A.P.P., director of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

“Emergency room visits for accidental poisonings among young children have become much more frequent in the last decade. We hope the results of this poll are a reminder to parents, grandparents and all those who care for young children: check around your homes to make sure that medicines are safely stored out of reach,” says Davis, who also is associate professor in the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit at the U-M Medical School, and associate professor of Public Policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

The poll results showed 23 percent of grandparents and 5 percent of parents reported storing prescription medicine in easy-to-access places, including daily-dose boxes that children can open. Eighteen percent of grandparents and 8 percent of parents said they store over-the-counter medicines in easily accessible spots.

The most common type of prescription in an accidental ingestion for young children is an opiate medicine, such as a morphine-related painkiller. The most common types of over-the-counter medicines that prompts emergency room visits for possible poisonings among young children include acetaminophen, used to reduce fever.

To keep children safe, parents and grandparents are generally urged to keep medicine safely out of reach of young children, in child-proof containers.

But the poll also found that about two-thirds of adults say they would support new laws that would require companies to create single-dose packages of tablets, capsules and liquid medicines that would make it harder for young children to ingest large quantities.

“The support for potential new requirements for single-dose dispensing of medicine in solid and liquid format is quite strong. However, there may be barriers to passage of such legislation – not the least of which are environmental concerns about increasing packaging,” says Davis.

Full report: C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health

Website: Check out the Poll’s new website: You can search and browse over 60 NPCH Reports, suggest topics for future polls, share your opinion in a quick poll, and view information on popular topics. The National Poll on Children’s Health team welcomes feedback on the new website, including features you’d like to see added. To share feedback, e-mail

Research | Opioids associated with highest risk of death

Toronto ON | 19 April 2012

People with an opioid addiction had the highest risk of death when compared with rates for alcohol and other drugs, according to a new study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

For those dependent on opioids, the risk of death was 5.71 times higher than healthy individuals in the population of the same age, gender and race. Those with methamphetamine use disorders were next highest with a 4.67-fold risk, followed by those with addictions to cannabis (3.85), alcohol (3.83) and cocaine (2.96). Alcohol dependence was related to the highest number of deaths overall.

The study, available online in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, is the largest North American study to compare mortality rates among different drug users with the longest follow-up. It tracked records of more than 800,000 individuals hospitalized with drug dependence between 1990 and 2005. Of this group, more than 188,000 died during this period.

The findings mean that if 10 individuals in the general population died, then over the same period there would be 57 deaths among people dependent on opioids, which includes prescription opioids as well as heroin.

“One reason for undertaking this study was to examine whether methamphetamine posed a particular threat to drug users, as it has been called ‘America’s most dangerous drug,'” says CAMH Scientist Dr. Russell Callaghan, who led the study. Globally, methamphetamine and similar stimulants are the second most commonly used class of illicit drugs.

“The risk is high, but opioids are associated with a higher risk. We also wanted to compare mortality risks among several major drugs of abuse, as this comparison hasn’t been done on this scale before.”

Alcohol dependence affected the highest number of individuals, with 166,482 deaths and 582,771 hospitalizations over the study period. In the methamphetamine group, there were 4,122 deaths out of 74,139 hospitalizations, and for opioids, 12,196 deaths out of 67,104 hospitalizations.

Specific causes of mortality were not examined in this study, so the deaths may not be directly caused by drugs but due to related injuries, infectious disease or unrelated reasons. The researchers are now exploring mortality causes for each drug group, which may also point to reasons why women had a higher risk of death for alcohol, cocaine and opioids than males.

“These are not occasional, recreational drug users, but people who have been hospitalized for drug dependence,” notes co-author Dr. Stephen Kish, Senior Scientist at CAMH.

To calculate mortality rates, Dr. Callaghan and colleagues examined hospital records of all California inpatients with a diagnosis of methamphetamine, alcohol, opioid, cannabis or cocaine-related disorders from 1990-2005. They excluded records with evidence of multiple drug use disorders. The inpatient records were then matched to death records from the California Vital Statistics Database. Rates were adjusted by age, sex and race to the California population in 2000.

“One surprising finding was the high rate of death among cannabis users,” says Dr. Callaghan. “There could be many potential reasons, including the fact that they may have other chronic illnesses such as psychiatric illnesses or AIDS, which can also increase the risk of death.”

The findings point to the importance of brief interventions for people receiving medical care for drug dependence on other related risks such as infectious diseases or injuries, says Dr. Callaghan.

Research | Many Employee Assistance Programs lack a comprehensive approach to addressing intimate partner violence

Baltimore MD | 19 April 2012

A new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy and RTI International finds employee assistance programs (EAPs), a standard benefit offered to employees at most large companies, are failing to identify individuals who abuse or have the potential to abuse their intimate partner, despite well-known risk factors for intimate partner violence perpetration.

While previous research has documented the extent to which EAPs offer workplace support for victims of intimate partner violence, this is the first study to examine the involvement of EAPs in screening and offering treatment to persons who perpetrate violence against their partners. The report is published in the current issue of Violence and Victims.

“Intimate partner violence has significant workplace impacts, and EAPs are therefore well-positioned to address this major public health problem,” explained study author Keshia Pollack, PhD, an assistant professor with the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, part of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Unfortunately, the majority of programs we studied are neglecting a critical aspect of this issue by not addressing intimate partner violence perpetration.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates the annual costs of lost productivity due to intimate partner violence victimization at more than $700 million, with more than 7.9 million paid workdays lost per year in the U.S. Just as victimization impacts the workplace, negative consequences stem from perpetration as well. Studies show perpetrators’ work performance and productivity is affected because of missing work, showing up late or leaving early, difficulty concentrating and errors on the job.

Twenty-eight different EAPs were included in the study. Researchers captured detailed information on the types of intimate partner violence-related activities (i.e., screening and assessment, services provided, and case management and follow-up) offered via representatives from each EAP. While several EAPs reported that the detection of intimate partner violence perpetration would be possible through their general, standardized assessment procedures, only three EAPs reported that their standardized assessment covers risk for intimate partner violence, and none reported using a standardized tool or protocol which specifically asks about intimate partner violence perpetration. Similarly, many EAPs reported that the services they offer to intimate partner violence perpetrators were the same as those they offer to victims of intimate partner violence (e.g., development of a safety plan) despite the fact these services are not relevant for addressing perpetration of abuse, and none reported that they offer direct treatment or intervention services specifically for intimate partner violence perpetrators.

“Screening for risk factors associated with intimate partner violence perpetration is critical, as EAP clients rarely self-identify as perpetrators,” said lead study author Jennifer L. Hardison Walters, MSW, research analyst with RTI International. “Previous research found that the vast majority of workers who interfaced with their EAP for alcohol abuse treatment were engaging in abusive behaviors towards their partners.” Other factors associated with risk of perpetrating violence against an intimate partner include depression, personality disorders and marital conflict and instability.

“Because of the large population they serve and their expertise in helping employees identify and resolve problems, EAPs are in a unique situation to address intimate partner violence perpetration,” concluded Pollack. “Moving forward, experts from public health, social work and criminal justice should assist EAP administrators to comprehensively address this public health problem.”

Additional authors of “Approaches Used by Employee Assistance Programs to Address Perpetration of Intimate Partner Violence” are Monique Clinton-Sherrod, Christine H. Lindquist, Tasseli McKay and Beth Lasater of RTI International. This research was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

This research was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.