Apr 1, 2020 in Research

Disaster Planning for Public Health

The Disaster 

My community is located within a plain valley and as a result, it is in constant threat of flooding. Some causes of flooding are manmade while others are natural. Climate change represents one of the manmade conditions. Climate change increases the precipitation rate since warm weather causes the evaporation of more water and the formation of wetter clouds (Kouadio, Aljunid, Kamigaki, Hammad, & Oshitani, 2014). Consequently, periods of heavy rainfall are witnessed in some of the areas. Since the plains are at a lower level compared to other lands, it possesses the higher risk of water drainage. Moreover, when heavy rains pound plane areas, the water is retained compared to other areas due to the physical dimensions of the land. Climate change is not the only cause of floods but it increases the rates of flooding in some regions. Our region is not at the risk of only this catastrophe but also other natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis. However, the rates of flooding are higher compared to the other natural hazards. Most natural disasters are associated with both waterborne and vector-borne diseases since these circumstances provide the requisite conditions for the growth and survival of various microorganism causing illnesses (Kouadio et al., 2014). Some of these diseases include typhoid fever, hepatitis A, cholera, and leptospirosis. Other diseases include malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, West Nile Fever, and Bilharzia. Vector-borne diseases increase due to the presence of particular habitats. For example, flooding provides a good habitat for mosquitoes which in turn are associated with diseases such as dengue, yellow and West Nile Fever while the same water provides a favourable environment for microorganisms causing bacteria and rapid contamination leading to severe outbreaks of cholera (Kouadio et al., 2014). 

The Nursing Response

The immediate response to any natural disaster serves to reduce the number of people affected and alleviate the negative effects of the disaster. The community has an emergency team that monitors all  activities associated with natural catastrophes. This team is normally on the forefront of advising people to seek higher grounds in case of disasters such as floods or to leave certain areas before any natural hazard strike. In case the undetected natural disaster happens, this emergency group composed of community plans is normally the first to evacuate people to other areas. This is done in conjunction with the state and the federal government. The combination of the community and other levels of government is considered to be the highest level of interaction. Smaller levels in the community are composed of volunteers who attempt to search and rescue people. This is considered to be the smaller unit. All these units have nurses who examine all affected individuals on a daily basis. Those affected by diseases are airlifted for specialised treatment while those with minor injuries are treated on site. Nurses provide the requisite information on how all parties are supposed to act including counselling the associated participants. 

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The action plan for mitigating this disaster can be fount at the website of Center for Public Health and Disasters. The community’s disaster plan contains several elements. Plan objectives highlight the specific requirements to be fulfilled according to the plan. The signatures of different parties are at the bottom part of this plan compiling the first component. The second part has the authorities, code and policies for all of the local health officials plus the specific functions to be performed. Some of the stated actions  include quarantine, isolation, and evacuation. Others are the declaration of a public health emergency and its reverse acclamation ("UCLA Center for Public Health and Disasters," 2005). The next component revolves around internal and external communications. Other components present in the plan include pre-arranged agreements with all the parties involved in the disaster management, data protection, and departmental disaster management, which implies the establishment of an incident command system ("UCLA Center for Public Health and Disasters," 2005). Other elements consist of leadership succession system and staff responsibilities that contain actions sheets, check-out and check-in procedures, emergency operations protocols, public health concepts of the operations, disaster recovery, and debriefing. Public health concept of operations involves assessing the needs of affected population and evaluating the damages caused by the catastrophe while disaster recovery involves such events as the deactivation of the Department Operation Centre ("UCLA Center for Public Health and Disasters," 2005). 

The disaster plan above contains some of the evidence-based practice guidelines required in handling the situation. First, it identifies parties involved in disaster management and provides them with their respective functions. This ensures that the people under the plan are working towards the set objectives of the disaster plan. Nurses and other health officials have defined roles regarding the current state. Secondly, it provides an independent body that brings together and even signs contracts with all parties. This independent body has a specific leadership succession plan and hierarchy to be followed. Once the body has successfully fulfilled its mandate, its actions are evaluated, and the body is deactivated. The plan focuses on evaluating the effects of the disaster on the population affected and providing requisite information on how these people can be assisted (Matthews & Eden, 2013). This means that the project  concentrates on the affected inhabitants as well as on the processes. 

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Conclusion

The community has a sound disaster management plan that takes actions immediately when any disaster happens within this particular area. The plan not only caters for the processes involved in restoring the normal conditions but also  the affected populace. Health officials such as nurses play an important role in the disaster management. Considering the above evaluation, it is correct to state that the community is prepared for any disaster.

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