Steps to take to help build prepared communities
| 06.05.2007 | 08:18:01 | Views: 3346 | ID:
June 5 '07: Education, planning, personal empowerment, response and support services are essential for any community to respond to a disaster or pandemic, according to a post by Georges Benjamin, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.A.C.E.P. (Emeritus) and former head of the American Public Health Association and Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on the Pandemic Flu Leadership Blog sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Dr. Benjamin, said in his post the that lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina could provide examples of ways that local and state governments can work with residents to build a strong response ethic. "In a disaster, a resilient community should be able to mitigate the risks to individuals, families and the community as a whole from preventable, serious health threats."He also laid out five necessary conditions to get to the goal of "chaos to controlled disorder and then to recovery." They are: planning scenarios with the help of "the entire community in local emergency and pandemic planning" with the goal of a complete community outreach "to all ... stakeholders;" education about the impacts of disasters and pandemics and the ways communities can work to prepare and mitigate those emergencies. The other three include helping to empower families and individuals and encouraging the development of family emergency response plans or helping people to learn first aid; improving basic emergency medical and first response services; and helping "the communities' capacity to recover. This may require addressing housing needs, conducting environmental assessments and mitigation, rebuilding the infrastructure and ensuring the delivery of mental health services."
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