Disaster Planning and Emergency Response
Disasters, both man-made and natural, occur on a regular basis. It is the responsibility of community officials to prepare ahead of time for these disasters, to ensure residents receive needed care immediately following the disaster and in the following weeks while the community recovers. Because of this communities have created emergency response plans and have trained personnel already in place when such events occur. The following is a discussion of the employees involved in a disaster plan and was obtained from “Disaster in Franklin County, A Public Health Simulation” that was created by the University of Minnesota. Role of Public Health Personnel
Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Commander is in charge of the disaster recovery, they are responsible for assessing the disaster situation, conducts the initial briefing, coordinates staffing, and if needed recommends a “state of emergency” for the affected area. The Safety Officer monitors and assesses unsafe or hazardous situations ensuring residents and disaster responders remain safe during the aftermath of the disaster.
The Liaison Officer is the contact person for supporting agencies that assist with disaster relief; they answer questions and provide briefings as needed to ensure correct information is given to these outside agencies. The Public Information Officer is responsible for providing the public with health information relating to the disaster, they are also responsible for ensuring the public health staff is informed.
The EOC Coordinator is responsible for planning for disasters before they happen. They plan out and test the response procedures to ensure critical business functions can return to normal quickly, any businesses can be repaired in a timely manner, and amount of loss minimized. The EOC is also an integral part of the actual disaster recovery effort after an actual disaster happens. The Operations Chief is responsible for assessing the situation/emergency, conducts briefing meetings, approves the action plan and authorize its implementation, approves needed resources to complete relief efforts, and works with the Liaison Officer in overseeing the aid process. The Logistics Chief is the coordinator for the emergency operations center, everything from transportation, housing, equipment, supplies, and anything else that is needed. This individual acts as a direct link between relief organizations and the EOC.
The Financial and Administration Chief is responsible for money that is spent during the emergency, approves spending and purchases, takes care of compensation claims, tracks workers hours, and coordinates the process for disaster financial assistance.
The Planning Intelligence Chief is responsible for gathering and analyzing information needed by the EOC, such as what area resources are available and where they are located, so the first responders are able to effectively complete their work. The Public Health Nurse is responsible for working in emergency shelters, triaging patients to ensure those needing emergency care receive the required care, complete door to door interviews of affected communities to ensure residents have what they need to remain safe and healthy, and providing a link between the residents in need and the service providers to meet their needs. (Olson, Larson, Scheller & Freiburg) Chain of Command
During the aftermath of a disaster the public health nurse reports directly to the Medical/Health Branch Director. This director reports to the Operations Chief, and finally the EOC Commander. Available Resources
Environmental Health Specialist is utilized to aid residents in the proper way to clean household hazardous waste that can occur after a disaster. Social services can assist families relocate to shelters in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. The added stress of dealing with disasters can increase the possibility of domestic violence; social services can assist...
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