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Emergency Preparedness Planning at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. With a Focus on Populations with Special Needs Jeff Timperi Massachusetts Department of Public Health Center for Emergency Preparedness. MDPH Center for Emergency Preparedness.
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Emergency Preparedness Planning at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health With a Focus on Populations with Special Needs Jeff Timperi Massachusetts Department of Public Health Center for Emergency Preparedness
MDPH Center for Emergency Preparedness • Provides a single point of contact for emergency preparedness at MDPH and coordinates response efforts across MDPH related to: • Bioterrorism • Chemical & Radiological Emergencies • Hospital Preparedness • Laboratory Support • Behavioral Health & Special Populations • Risk Communication • Drills & Exercises • Working with Local Boards of Health • Working with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA)
“Special Populations” There are many definitions of special populations, and MDPH’s Special Populations advisory group has developed the following definition, meant not to exclude groups, but to easier facilitate discussion. Special populations can be formed into two major groups: • ‘Demographics Group’ Demographically diverse individuals (e.g., race, ethnicity, culture, languages, elders, children, refugees, immigrants, and language proficiency etc.) • ‘Conditions Group’ Individuals with physical or cognitive disabilities (e.g., deaf/hard of hearing, visually impaired, use of a wheelchair, mental health/substance abuse conditions, etc.)
Current & Proposed Emergency Preparedness and Special Population Initiatives • Continuity of Operations Planning (COOP) • Crisis Counselor Training • Training for Local Officials to Enhance Emergency Management Services for Populations with Special Needs • Proposed Statewide Task Force on Emergency Management for Populations with Special Needs • Emergency Shelter Development
Continuity of Operations Planning • Continuity of Operations Planning (COOP) is being done across state government to assure essential government services are not interrupted in the event of an emergency, such as an influenza pandemic. A COOP identifies essential services, agency leads, delegations of authority, and other key pieces of information critical to the maintenance of services during an extended emergency. Exercises are being planned in conjunction with Harvard School of Public Health and the Executive Office of Public Safety (http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=eohhs2subtopic&L=6&L0=Home&L1=Provider&L2=Guidelines+and+Resources&L3=Guidelines+for+Services+%26+Planning&L4=Emergency+Preparedness+and+Planning&L5=Continuity+of+Operations+Plan+(COOP)&sid=Eeohhs2)
Crisis Counselor Training • Behavioral Health Disaster Responders, or ‘crisis counselors’, provide a short-term intervention with individuals and/or groups experiencing psychological reactions to a major emergency and/or disaster and its aftermath. • This type of intervention is not therapy in the traditional sense – responders (or counselors) link victims to disaster relief associations within the shortest amount of time while assessing victims for their need for counseling services • There will be numerous training courses held throughout the Commonwealth. Please check this site for information on future trainings: http://www.cmmh-cmtp.org/services-bhdrtp-trainingdates.php • A memorandum detailing how state disaster behavioral health services can be accessed is available here: http://www.mass.gov/dph/topics/bioterrorism/statedbhservices_memo_3_06.pdf
Training for local officials to enhance emergency management services for populations with special needs Training for local officials to enhance emergency management services for populations with special needs is being developed. A comprehensive report is expected to be disseminated in December 2006 followed by a training module by March 2007. This builds upon the following: Special Populations Guide for Local Boards of Health: http://www.mass.gov/dph/bioterrorism/advisorygrps/pdfs/spop_guidance_5_05.pdf Emergency Planning and Special Populations – Community Planning Guide: http://www.mass.gov/dph/bioterrorism/advisorygrps/pdfs/spop_community_plan.pdf
Statewide Task Force MDPH, the MA Emergency Management Agency, and the Executive Office of Elder Affairs have proposed to convene a statewide task force on emergency management for populations with special needs. The task force would concentrate on the following five focus areas: • Strategies for identifying special populations during a disaster at the local and state levels via a registry • Promotion of personal and ‘special population facility’ (e.g., nursing homes) preparedness • Evacuations • Sheltering and Influenza Specialty Care Units (ISCU) • Communications In addition to these five areas, a sixth area (defining "special populations" and agreeing on acceptable terminology) would be an issue for the entire task force.It is proposed the task force will convene by March 2007.
Emergency Shelter Development MDPH, MEMA, and the American Red Cross are currently meeting on statewide emergency shelter issues. From these meetings, a shelter definition and concept of operations document will be developed. This document will be used for larger ESF6 (MassCare) discussions.
Individual Preparedness • Develop a Family or Individual Disaster Plan (one sample is available via MassSupport: www.mass.gov/samh; 866.237.8274; TTY 617.536.5872 • Consider registering with the 9-1-1 Disability Indicator Program • Participate in your community’s emergency preparedness process • Contact your local health department or local emergency management director • Become a disaster volunteer • Medical Reserve Corps (http://www.mamedicalreservecorps.org/) • Connect & Serve (http://www.volunteersolutions.org/mass-service/volunteer/register/) • Massachusetts System for Advance Registration (http://www.volunteersolutions.org/mass-service/volunteer/register/)
Contact Jeff Timperi, MPA Behavioral Health and Special Populations Liaison Massachusetts Department of Public Health Center for Emergency Preparedness 250 Washington St., 2nd floor Boston, MA 02108 Tel 617.624.5275 Jeffrey.Timperi@state.ma.us