University of Phoenix
Community Emergency Preparedness and Response Paper
Risk for disasters is a part of life; emergency situations occur more frequently than many people believe. A wise person plans for the worse, and hopes for the best. After a disaster, how well a community can recover will depend largely on how well they prepared in advance. Risk management includes identifying any potential risks to a community and proactively planning to minimize the threat. Proactive organization of resources and people to respond to emergencies can mean the difference between a community’s ability to regroup and recover, and the loss of life. To better understand preparation for emergencies, we will examine and summarize an emergency event and the actions of health care workers in response to specific key characters’ health concerns. Next, we will identify other types of public health agencies (local, state, and national) that could be called upon to respond to this type of emergency and discuss how public health care teams can enhance personal preparedness for this type of emergency and similar community emergencies. Last, we will offer suggestions to enhance personal preparedness for this type of emergency and similar community emergencies. Summary of Events and People The Neighborhood is a town with a population of 64,200 people, one-third of which are elderly. It is situated along a river and located west of a forest. For the last five days, a wildfire has been burning out of control in the forest and is nearing the town. This fire, spread by an earlier-than-expected windy season, is destroying numerous acres of land. Firefighters are trying to control this wildfire in the forest, as health care workers are working to help patients with restrictive and obstructive lung disease, experiencing difficulty with breathing. City officials have urged citizens in the Neighborhood not to go outside, unless absolutely necessary. This advice was given due to the poor air quality from all the smoke blown by the winds, in the direction toward town. The poor air quality is impacting all of the town’s population; especially those with lung disease. Both the hospital and outpatient clinics are filled to capacity with patients. The city officials have also advised the Neighborhood’s citizens, that currently there is no direct fire danger, but, if the fire gets any closer, and the town is in danger, they will notify the people in advance. Two of the Neighborhood’s inhabitants are Jimmy Bley and his wife, Cecelia, who have been married for 56 years. Both are Native Americans, in their mid-70s and they both have have health issues. Jimmy suffers hearing loss and moderate emphysema, which he says “it’s not that bad”, yet he frequently is short of breath. Jimmy knows that if he ‘pushes’ himself, he can suffer exhaustion and be ill for days. Jimmy has smoked for most of his life, and has no intention of stopping. Cecelia suffers from osteoarthritis that she says is “an annoyance”. During the poor air quality alert, Cecelia lets Jimmy know that the dryer is broken, yet again. Jimmy knows that he needs to go to the hardware store to purchase the parts and repair the dryer. Cecelia wants the dryer fixed, but Jimmy knows that he needs to wait until the air quality improves before he goes outdoors. One of the Bley daughters comes over to take Cecelia to the laundromat so she can finish their laundry. The middle school is scheduled, over the weekend, as the site of the annual science fair. More than fifty children from the school are going to this science fair. The event has not been cancelled in spite of the advice to stay indoors due to the poor air quality. The school nurse has assessed one student, in particular, for breathing problems; increased respiratory rate, a cough and wheezing...