In volcanic emergencies there are two elements that can severely impact populations: ashfall and volcanic gases. The International Volcanic Health Hazard Network (IVHHN) has published technical guidelines on the hazards of volcanic ash and gases. The content is practical, easy to understand and is meant for wide distribution in cases of eruptions. “The Health Hazards of Volcanic Ash--A Guide for the Population,” gives recommendations for respiratory, eye, or skin problems, and how best to protect oneself or one’s children from ashfall. Another pamphlet, “Guidelines on Preparedness Before, During, and After Ashfall,” offers general preparedness recommendations for disaster administrators.
The 31 experts who are members of the IVHHN work in various scientific disciplines such as volcanology, epidemiology, toxicology, and public health, with the common aim of trying to determine the health effects of volcanic emissions. They have published a series of pamphlets for the public, for disaster managers, and for scientists that are available in Spanish, English, Italian, French, Portuguese, and Japanese at www.ivhhn.org (see the section on “guidelines and databases”).