Disasters and Emergency Response
Western Governors University
Emergency response requires a chain of command. There are many different roles in the emergency response team. Public health nurses fulfill a role on this team. They must deal with situations outside their scope of practice by utilizing alternate resources. These nurses are in the community to assess needs and provide information on options. It is important public health nurses are prepared to help in responding to emergencies.
Role of Public Health Personnel
Disasters occur leaving devastation behind. Public health personnel play a major role in assessing, providing for and educating the community. The first critical component during a public health emergency is to establish an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and assign roles to trained public health officials based on individual skill sets. This responsibility lies with the Incident Commander. A Public Health Incident Command System starts with an Incident Commander who is the lead person and usually one of the first persons on the scene. It is the role of the commander to oversee all operations of the disaster. He or she will develop action plans and objectives after assessing the situation. (Disaster in Franklin County A Public Health Simulation, 2005). Public health officials are trained on their specific roles and responsibilities during an emergency. The specific roles and there responsibilities are as follows: Public Information Officer assures that public health information is appropriate and provided to the public. They must to keep staff appropriately informed and work with all agencies so that the messages are consistent. Liaison Officer serves as the point of contact for all other agencies. They answer questions and give briefings keeping the Incident Commander free for other duties. (Disaster in Franklin County A Public Health Simulation, 2005). Operations Chief organizes, assigns and supervises the people who are available to help in the field. He/she develops and implements plans and methods to achieve the objectives. Planned field personnel are the community service branch director, medical/health director which includes the public health group, fire branch director, public works branch director and law enforcement director. (Disaster in Franklin County A Public Health Simulation, 2005). Planning Chief gathers analyzes and shares the information. It is their function to manage the planning process and make an action plan. They are always thinking of what comes next. (Disaster in Franklin County A Public Health Simulation, 2005). Logistics Chief is the person that is able to obtain the necessary things to complete the tasks. They are able to acquire supplies, equipment and space if needed. (Disaster in Franklin County A Public Health Simulation, 2005). Finance/Administration Chief monitors contractual and financial processes. They ensure the proper contracts are in place and track what and where resources are being used. (Disaster in Franklin County A Public Health Simulation, 2005). The Public Health Nurse is responsible for assessing people’s needs. The nurse may need to provide education on safety, food storage, and sanitation and health hazards. It is the nurse’s responsibility to make referrals to other public health teams if he/she encounters something outside their scope of practice such as hazardous materials disposal. He/she will assist with identifying acute medical issues and ensuring residents have basic necessities, such as safe drinking water and food as well as medications and medical equipment. The public health nurses will need to be available in the community as people are able to return to their homes to assess for newly arising health issues. Chain of Command
In the Franklin County Simulation the...
References: Disaster in Franklin County A Public Health Simulation. 2005. Retrieved from: https://cpheo1.sph.umn.edu/fcs/index.asp
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