The role of the local health department sanitarian in natural disaster and terrorism incidents
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The Role of the Local Health Department Sanitarian in Natural Disaster and Terrorism Incidents. Definition of Environmental Health.

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The Role of the Local Health Department Sanitarianin Natural Disaster and Terrorism Incidents


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Definition of Environmental Health

The systematic development, promotion and conduct of measures which modify or otherwise control those external physical factors in the indoor and outdoor environment which might cause illness, disability or discomfort through interaction with the human system.

This includes not only health and safety factors, but also aesthetically desirable conditions in accordance with community demands and expectations.


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Definition of Sanitarian

A credentialed practitioner in the environmental, sanitary and public health sciences whose vocational efforts are directed towards the evaluation and management of those factors and mechanisms which impact upon the public health, quality of life and determinants of risk.


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Sanitarian’s Role

Our prime objective is to prevent further disease and injury.

We are not first responders. Although we are first at the scene, our role is consultative, facilitative and supportive.


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Sanitarian’s Role

We provide consultation and support to other first response and restoration activities on matters of environmental and public health, including the protection from further harm; advise and direct quarantine and decontamination strategies; ensure the safety of vital services necessary for the health and well being of the population; oversee continuing public health services, and, assist in ensuring a rapid recovery and restoration of all vital services. We provide public health information to the public


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Sanitarian’s Role

We make it possible for all responders to do their jobs safely and with minimal risk to themselves and the community.


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Disaster and Terrorism Response

Objectives:

To assist and advise other first responders in matters of public and environmental health and safety during an incident.

Limit, and hopefully prevent further environmentally mediated injury and/or illness.

Facilitate emergency services and assist in restoring essential services.


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Disaster and Terrorism Response

Activities:

Make available all resources of our profession and office to assist other first responders. Liaison with other health departments.

Advise and direct matters of public health, environmental health and safety

  • Fate and transport or biological and chemical agents

  • Quarantine and embargo.


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Disaster and Terrorism Response

Activities:

Provide public health information and education to other first responders and the community.

Oversee and provide consultation on matters of environmental health and safety, particularly on the following issues.


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Epidemiology

Objectives:

  • Identify the factors essential for diseases or injuries to occur.

  • Find the best methods to reduce or prevent those conditions detrimental to the health of the public.


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Epidemiology

Activities:

  • Provide demographic and other essential community data to response team.

  • Inform team of any environmental health and safety concerns and issues unique to the community.

  • Provide assistance in information and data collection and any other support activities available.

  • Assist in the collection of environmental and clinical samples and specimens.

  • Assist in providing information and education to the public.


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Quarantine

Objectives:

  • Develop a quarantine and embargo strategy to prevent the further spread of illness or injury.

  • Oversee the implementation and enforcement of all necessary quarantine activities.


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Quarantine

Activities:

  • Assess risk of disease propagation in the community; estimate the fate and transport of harmful chemicals or other BT agents.

  • Advise other first responders and other support personnel on limiting movement of people and materiel.

  • Advise and direct quarantine strategy for individuals and groups.


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Quarantine

Activities:

  • Advise and direct embargo strategies for materiel as necessary

  • Ensure continued vital services to quarantined individuals and groups.

  • Assist in corpse control and death registry.

  • End quarantine as soon as safe and practical.


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Decontamination

Objectives:

  • Provide information on decontamination of people, necessary services and materiel.

  • Assist in decontamination activities to ensure the protection of the public health and environment.


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Decontamination

Activities:

  • Identify decontamination resources including chemicals and facilities.

  • Develop decontamination strategies and implementation.

  • Monitor decontamination activities.

  • Ensure the safe use of decontaminant chemicals and methods.

  • Ensure proper neutralization and/or safe disposal of decontaminants.


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Water

Objectives:

  • Assure the availability of safe drinking water to the public.

  • Prevent waterborne diseases or contamination.


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Water

Activities:

  • Contact water purveyor for status. Check supplies.

  • Check availability of labs; arrange for back-up.

  • Arrange for emergency, backup and alternate water supply.

  • Provide public information on water needs, rationing, storage and disinfection.


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Food

Objectives:

  • Provide consultation and assistance at feeding centers to assure safe food handling.

  • Provide information on salvaging and protecting perishable foods.

  • Provide information on sorting and proper disposal of contaminated foods.

  • Conduct field surveys.


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Food

Activities:

  • Act in consultative capacity to assure proper food handling practices.

  • Provide information regarding protection of perishable foods if necessary, and advice on sorting and disposal of contaminated food.

  • Assist in the accounting of condemned food stuffs.


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Liquid Waste / Sewage

Objectives:

  • Ensure proper handling and disposal of human liquid waste in order to prevent disease, prevent contamination of domestic water supplies and prevent degradation of surface and groundwater quality.


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Liquid Waste / Sewage

Activities:

  • Coordinate emergency waste disposal facilities.

  • Secure commercial chemical toilets and arrange for servicing.

  • If commercial toilets are not available, provide information on alternative safe disposal methods.


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Solid Waste Disposal

Objectives:

  • Solid waste will require proper storage and disposal to prevent vector nuisances, odor problems, or contamination of food and water.


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Solid Waste Disposal

Activities:

  • Check status of disposal and transfer sites.

  • Issue instructions on how refuse must be prepared for disposal; separation of garbage and rubbish.

  • Arrange for safe temporary storage if necessary.

  • Coordinate safe removal and disposal.

  • Monitor for vectors.

  • Provide guidance for hazardous and medical waste storage and disposal.


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Shelter Management

Objective:

  • To ensure safe and healthful conditions at clinics and emergency gathering places.


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Shelter Management

Activities:

  • Contact, inspect and advise each emergency facility.

    • Availability of potable water.

    • Proper disposal of sewage.

    • Sanitary handling and storage of food.

    • General sanitation including housekeeping and decontamination.

    • Safety and vector control.

    • Proper emergency disposal of solid, infectious and medical waste.

    • Availability of suitable water for decontamination and personal hygiene.


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Vector Control

Objectives:

  • Coordinate emergency corrective measures against those vectors that can cause problems.


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Vector Control

Activities:

  • Assess vector control capabilities and operations.

  • Assess vector populations: flies, mosquitoes and rodents.

  • Assess conditions that may promote the proliferation or incursion of vectors.

  • Apply vector control measures.

  • Implement preventive measures and activities.


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Hazardous Materials

Objectives:

  • Take appropriate precautions to reduce the risk of exposure and injury to yourself and public

  • Act as an information and educational resource for the public.

  • Assess hazardous materials incidents and refer those incidents to the appropriate response agency.

  • Provide technical assistance.


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Hazardous Materials

Activities:

  • Identify possible locations for hazardous materials incidents.

  • Be aware of the possible health and safety hazards.

  • Implement procedures to assess and mitigate a hazardous materials incident.

  • Refer the incident to the appropriate response agency.


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Medical Waste

Objectives:

  • Ensure that wastes which require strict handling under normal circumstances are disposed of safely.

  • Prevent access to medical wastes by vertebrate or invertebrate vectors.


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Medical Waste

Activities:

  • Advise and assist in the proper disposal of medical waste including: collection, storage, transportation, treatment and disposal systems.

  • Identify locations where medical wastes are generated.

  • Verify facilities’ ability to collect, store and treat waste.

  • Determine accumulation beyond storage capacity.

  • Verify integrity of liquid waste disposal system.

  • Oversee the segregation of sharps and other medical wastes.

  • Recommend emergency containment.

  • Arrange for removal and transport.


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Information

Objectives:

  • Provide information relative to public health, environmental health and safety issues.

    Activities:

  • Provide consultation to public information personnel on matter relating to public and environmental health.

  • Inform and educate the public on preventive measures, quarantine, decontamination procedures and other public health issues as necessary.

  • Document all activities.


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Information

Activities:

  • Provide consultation to public information personnel on matter relating to public and environmental health.

  • Inform and educate the public on preventive measures, quarantine, decontamination procedures and other public health issues as necessary.

  • Share information with other agencies.

  • Document all activities.


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