The role of the major public health personnel, including the public health nurse, is to provide the public with accurate information, and to assure the community, as well as ensure the immediate safety and well-being of the members of the community, while being competent compassionate and accessible. The public health director was contacted by the incident commander to attend the incident briefing due to immediate and long term public health impacts. The fire chief gave report concerning how many people were confirmed dead, what time it occurred and what county(s) were affected. He made the public aware if any hazardous materials had been released and where and whether the hazardous materials team had been dispatched.
He also notifies the community of areas of flooding, and any impassable roads and the roads that are closed, as well as any power outages, and possible long term problems that may occur from power loss such as water contamination, and food loss due to spoilage. The fire chief also informs the public that the plan for search and rescue has been initiated. The public health staff had previously had National Incident Management System (NIMS) training. The deputy director sets up the incident command center and does the head count of available responders. The most ideal personnel were not totally available; there were an appropriate number to set up section chiefs and command staff.
The chain of command that was used in the simulation consisted of the Public Health Team which included the County Public Health Director, Environmental Health Specialists, and Community Health Nurses, as well as Franklin county staff members, mental health, and social workers, which allowed the community health nurse to have resources available that were used to deal with situations that were outside the nurse’s scope of practice included reporting to EOC well treatment hazardous waste removal. Actions taken by the community health nurse when she encountered possible emergency situations during the door-to-door interviews was to Calm and triage families and offer reassurance and instruction on safety.
The public health personnel had to deal with multiple problems both during the initial period and after the immediate danger had past. Actions taken by the community health nurse to help the people who were interviewed cope with the situations after the flooding were: to advise them to stay at shelter where there is electricity and food to contact Environmental health specialists for toxic waste To contact Social services to address immediate needs and resources.
To arrange for instruction on safe use of generators in English and Spanish. To make arrangement for medications to be delivered the next day. Techniques that were used or could have been used to calm the fears of the people interviewed are to use short and concise statements. Perform active listening and confirm statements by repeating it back to the person being spoken with, use confrontation avoidance, and De-escalation. The other nursing personnel could be prepared to help in responding to a similar emergency with a much larger affected area (e.g., the effect of Hurricane Katrina). Through the development of a well-organized disaster response plan.
Public health staff requires National Incident Management System (NIMS) training. Emergency preparedness training should be performed at least every six months. There needs to be a method of communication in case power lines, towers and electricity are not available; have a backup system in place and know where they are located (e.g. include, walkie talkies, Morse code and emailing). Community nurses should have car stock that includes protective gear (PPE) such as N-95 mask, barriers for CPR, gloves, biohazard containers and isolation gowns. Knowledge of the basic steps that are needed to take to ensure patient safety, such as safe evacuation, and early notification will help prevent unnecessary casualties during emergencies (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. www.ahrq.gov/prep. Accessed July 21, 2006.
Centers for Public Health Education and Outreach. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://cpheo1.sph.umn.edu/fcs/index.asp Health Care: Public Health Emergency Preparedness. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ahrq.gov/prep
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