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Emergency Preparedness for Health Commissioners: An Orientation Program for Public Health Executives James Garrow; Steve A...
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Emergency Preparedness for Health Commissioners: An Orientation Program for Public Health Executives


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A poster presented at 2009 Public Health Preparedness Summit on developing a curriculum for introducing emergency preparedness and response to new public health executives

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Emergency Preparedness for Health Commissioners: An Orientation Program for Public Health Executives

  1. 1. Emergency Preparedness for Health Commissioners: An Orientation Program for Public Health Executives James Garrow; Steve Alles, MD MS; Caroline Johnson, MD; Esther Chernak, MD MPH   Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Division of Disease Control <ul><li>Part One – Emergency Management Overview </li></ul><ul><li>Federal and state emergency management </li></ul><ul><li>concepts and terminology (ICS/NIMS) </li></ul><ul><li>City of Philadelphia emergency response </li></ul><ul><li>plans </li></ul><ul><li>PDPH public health emergency response </li></ul><ul><li>plans and capabilities </li></ul><ul><li>Received Emergency Management Guidebook: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Introduction to federal and City emergency management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PDPH emergency response plans </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emergency contact information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communications equipment instruction sheets </li></ul></ul><ul><li>After Action Summary </li></ul><ul><li>Participants felt the training was a useful way </li></ul><ul><li>to provide an overview of critical information </li></ul><ul><li>in a short time  </li></ul><ul><li>Exercises provided opportunities for executive </li></ul><ul><li>and senior staff to think through challenging </li></ul><ul><li>situations and make decisions </li></ul><ul><li>Exercises proved to be useful team building </li></ul><ul><li>experiences for executive and senior staff, </li></ul><ul><li>many of whom were new to their positions </li></ul><ul><li>and PDPH </li></ul><ul><li>Senior staff made command and control </li></ul><ul><li>decisions and identified programs to lead </li></ul><ul><li>particular responses </li></ul><ul><li>New solutions were proposed during the </li></ul><ul><li>exercise to address planning gaps, including </li></ul><ul><li>communications during emergencies </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion and Next Steps </li></ul><ul><li>The training identified the need for </li></ul><ul><li>additional training in ICS/NIMS and </li></ul><ul><li>specific plan implementation </li></ul><ul><li>The exercises identified the need for future </li></ul><ul><li>coordination of Department-wide planning </li></ul><ul><li>issues, including continuity of </li></ul><ul><li>government, internal communications and </li></ul><ul><li>public health emergency planning </li></ul><ul><li>Participants requested that preparedness </li></ul><ul><li>be made a standing agenda item at </li></ul><ul><li>monthly senior staff meetings </li></ul>Abstract The Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) Public Health Preparedness Program designed a 3-hour training for public health agency executives and senior staff who were newly appointed to their positions by recently elected officials. Program staff developed a curriculum that reviewed ICS and NIMS, and the Emergency Support Functions outlined in the National Response Framework, emphasizing public health functions. City of Philadelphia Emergency Management plans and operations were reviewed, followed by PDPH-specific plans for a broad range of public health emergencies, including continuity of government plans and mass prophylaxis plans. Tactical communications equipment was distributed and used during the session. The session concluded with tabletop exercises for the department’s senior public health program staff that focused on likely public health emergency scenarios. The exercises required command and control decisions and facilitated both team-building and coordinated decision-making that was useful preparation for real events and disasters. <ul><li>Part Two – Tactical Communications Hands-On </li></ul><ul><li>Used 800 MHz radios </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrated emergency notification </li></ul><ul><li>software and received test text message </li></ul><ul><li>via the system </li></ul><ul><li>Received USB drives containing </li></ul><ul><li>electronic copies of emergency plans, </li></ul><ul><li>with recommendations to add program-specific plans </li></ul><ul><li>and contact information </li></ul>Part Three – Tabletop Scenarios Three emergency scenarios that would affect the public’s health or The Health Department’s ability to function. <ul><li>Participants addressed the following questions for each of the scenarios: </li></ul><ul><li>How should PDPH organize itself in response to the </li></ul><ul><li>scenario; which program should lead? </li></ul><ul><li>Identify mission critical operations; ascertain if </li></ul><ul><li>operational and plan to maintain them. </li></ul><ul><li>Should a command center be activated? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the relevant health issues? </li></ul><ul><li>What resources can PDPH provide? </li></ul><ul><li>Are all PDPH programs operational? </li></ul><ul><li>What information should staff receive? How? </li></ul><ul><li>Scenario 1 – Mass Transit Accident </li></ul><ul><li>Passenger and freight train collision </li></ul><ul><li>during rush hour </li></ul><ul><li>At least 50 dead, hundreds wounded </li></ul><ul><li>Fire Department and EMS established </li></ul><ul><li>Command Post on scene </li></ul><ul><li>Hospital receiving transported </li></ul><ul><li>casualties and walking wounded </li></ul><ul><li>Outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>Major response activities: mass fatality management, air </li></ul><ul><li>quality and environmental health monitoring, hospital </li></ul><ul><li>medical surge </li></ul><ul><li>Medical Examiner’s Office lead with Environmental Health </li></ul><ul><li>Services and Air Management Services </li></ul><ul><li>Unified Command established at Command Post </li></ul><ul><li>Scenario 2 – Infectious Disease Outbreak </li></ul><ul><li>28 cases of severe pneumonia in </li></ul><ul><li>two weeks </li></ul><ul><li>SARS confirmed in Philadelphia </li></ul><ul><li>Health care system inundated with </li></ul><ul><li>respiratory complaints and </li></ul><ul><li>“ worried well” </li></ul><ul><li>Health Department overwhelmed with questions </li></ul><ul><li>Absenteeism high among health care workers </li></ul><ul><li>Outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>Major response activities: isolation and quarantine, </li></ul><ul><li>medical surge, public information, workforce support </li></ul><ul><li>Division of Disease Control lead with Public Information </li></ul><ul><li>Officer, Personnel, Ambulatory Health Services (City </li></ul><ul><li>clinics) engaged in response </li></ul><ul><li>Health Command Center activated, surge for </li></ul><ul><li>epidemiology activities, public health guidance and </li></ul><ul><li>communications </li></ul><ul><li>Scenario 3 – Power Outage during Heat Wave </li></ul><ul><li>More than 7 days of temperatures of </li></ul><ul><li>at least 90° F </li></ul><ul><li>All electrical power lost to region for </li></ul><ul><li>at least 5 days </li></ul><ul><li>Heat wave expected to continue </li></ul><ul><li>Heat-related mortality and morbidity </li></ul><ul><li>already high </li></ul><ul><li>Outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>Major response activities: continuity of government, </li></ul><ul><li>maintenance of essential services, communications </li></ul><ul><li>Muster point or Health Command Center identified </li></ul><ul><li>Senior staff and Division Directors engaged </li></ul><ul><li>Program Objectives </li></ul><ul><li>Orient senior staff to federal plans and programs, </li></ul><ul><li>including ICS and NIMS </li></ul><ul><li>Orient senior staff to state and city emergency </li></ul><ul><li>plans </li></ul><ul><li>Review PDPH plans for a range of emergency </li></ul><ul><li>scenarios </li></ul><ul><li>Practice using tactical communications tools </li></ul><ul><li>Provide hard and electronic copies of emergency </li></ul><ul><li>response plans and information to senior staff </li></ul><ul><li>Conduct tabletop scenarios of different emergency </li></ul><ul><li>scenarios to review roles and responsibilities of </li></ul><ul><li>program directors and executives in an </li></ul><ul><li>emergency </li></ul>Program Description Part Three – Tabletop Scenarios (continued) Participants