Public Health Emergency Preparedness

Public Health Emergency Planning Council Meeting Minutes

January 20th, 2016


Background and Importance

Like many other states, New Hampshire is no stranger to public health emergencies resulting from disease outbreaks and epidemics such as H1N1 (Swine Flu) and natural disasters with substantial public health impacts such as ice storms, hurricanes and severe flooding. In order to be well prepared to respond and recover from such emergencies, it is essential for regional emergency preparedness and response partners to build strong relationships and work together in advance on developing, exercising and improving emergency plans and response capabilities.

Equally important to an effective community response to emergencies is the level of Personal Preparedness of individuals and families.  Personal Preparedness lessens the impact on families, on workplaces and on communities. While government and voluntary organizations can provide important functions in an emergency, it is important for all citizens to have an understanding of shared responsibilities, including emergency planning for our most vulnerable populations, as well as strategies for increasing self-reliance including identification of personal support networks in an emergency. 

Geographic Area

Percent of adults who feel their household is “well prepared” to handle a large-scale disaster or emergency; 2013

Winnipesaukee Region

32%

New Hampshire

32%

Data Source: NH Behavioral Risk Factor Survey, 2013.


 

Regional Initiatives and Opportunities

The Public Health Emergency Planning Council is working to improve Emergency Preparedness across the region through this Community Health Improvement Plan.  Regional assets and opportunities for supporting this work include:

·         The Partnership for Public Health supports and convenes a regional Public Health Emergency Planning Council including town officials, health officers, emergency management directors, fire/rescue workers, police, schools and others to plan for public health emergencies to limit illness and death, preserve continuity of government/business, minimize social disruption and minimize economic loss.

·         Strong and consistent participation from a wide-variety of sectors including First Responders, Schools, Safety, Behavioral Health, and Healthcare  

·         Plans to rapidly provide medicine and/or vaccines to the entire population through Points of Dispensing sites (PODs) are frequently tested and improved.

·         The region has also worked hard to build regional emergency volunteer capacity through entities such as: 

·         Lakes Region Community Emergency Response Team (LR-CERT)

·         Lakes Region Medical Reserve Corps (LR- MRC)

·         Regional exercises and improvement planning are conducted on a regular basis 

·         Frequent information dissemination and training opportunities on Personal Emergency Preparedness

 


Goals, Objectives and Strategic Approach

Goal 1

Increase regional capacity to prepare for, respond to and recover from Public Health Emergencies

Objective 1

Increase the proportion of residents who self-report being “well prepared” to handle a large-scale disaster or emergency to 40% by 2020 (baseline=32%)

Objective 2

Increase the number of trained volunteers available to support public health emergency response by 20% by 2020.

Objective 3

(developmental)

Increase the capacity and resources of municipal emergency response organizations to support Responder Safety and Health

 

Strategic Approach

STRATEGY 1: Increase personal and household preparedness through community information and education

STRATEGY 2:  Engage local civic and volunteer organizations as partners for identification and training of volunteers to support emergency response functions

STRATEGY 3:  Identify and disseminate model policies, procedures, training and other resources for supporting Responder Safety and Health in all response phases.

STRATEGY 4:  Conduct outreach to Increase regional capacity to support responder health and safety including resources for long term, post event support.  as well as to expand capacity for behavioral health emergency response for the general public


 



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