Emergency situations, such as natural disasters, terrorism events, or disease outbreaks, can happen anywhere in the blink of an eye. Environmental health professionals work with federal, state, and local agencies to ensure communities are prepared for these situations. They are also actively involved in the awareness, planning, response, and after-action in emergency situations.
Concurrent Disasters Needs Assessment Report
The Concurrent Disasters Project aims to:
• Identify gaps and challenges faced by local environmental and public health agencies when responding to concurrent disasters
• Identify resources to address these challenges
• Develop tabletop exercises and other technical resources to support more effective and capable concurrent disaster planning, preparedness, and response activities in the future
As part of this project, we developed a needs assessment survey - the Concurrent Disasters Needs Assessment survey - to find gaps and identify resources needed for responding to concurrent disasters. The survey:
• Was distributed to state, tribal, local, and territorial jurisdictions
• Targeted public health officers/directors, public health emergency preparedness (PHEP) coordinators, environmental health program directors
• Asked them to share their experiences, facilitating factors, barriers, and challenges they have encountered during concurrent disasters
Review the Concurrent Disasters Needs Assessment Report for a:
• Summary of survey findings
• Identified themes
• Outline of gaps and needs
The findings presented in this report will help inform the development of solutions to the unique obstacles created by concurrent disasters.
We were able to lead this project with funding support from CDC and ATSDR. This project was completed is collaboration with CDC, ATSDR, and the Concurrent Disasters Community of Practice, a recruited group of individuals with expertise and experience in emergency management
COVID-19 Early Care and Education Collaborative
COVID-19 guidance is needed in early care and education (ECE) facilities, where many children may be at increased risk for exposure to COVID-19 and other environmental health hazards. NEHA and its partners are collaborating to develop COVID-19 guidance for ECE facilities.
Project Firstline | Infection Control
The National Environmental Health Association is proud to partner with the National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI) for Project Firstline. Project Firstline is a collaborative of diverse healthcare and public health partners that have come together to provide healthcare facilities foundational knowledge of infection control. To stop the spread of infectious disease threats—including COVID-19—anyone in healthcare, public health, and environmental health needs a foundational knowledge of infection control and must understand and be ready to implement infection control protocols and procedures throughout their workday, including during every patient care activity and healthcare interaction. This collaboration will provide these professionals with infection control training they need to protect the nation from infectious disease threats.
The National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI) is a central hub for individuals and institutes who are wanting to improve public health throughout the United States. NNPHI mobilizes more than 40-member public health institutes with over $1.4 billion in annual funding as well as 10 university-based regional training centers and 40 affiliates. They connect more than 8,000 subject matter experts with organizational partners across the nation and serve as a go-to resource for analysis and best practices. The organization also provides important network connections for communities, government agencies, foundations, the health care delivery system, media, and academia.
September Is National Preparedness Month
National Preparedness Month is recognized each September to promote family and community disaster planning now and throughout the year. As our nation continues to respond to COVID-19, there is no better time to be involved this September. The 2021 National Preparedness Month theme is "Prepare to Protect. Preparing for disasters is protecting everyone you love."
NEHA advocates for national, state, and local policies, regulations, research, and resources that enhance the ability of environmental health professionals to contribute to and benefit from emergency preparedness. NEHA supports National Preparedness Month and has provided numerous resources below to assist environmental health professionals in preparing for and responding to different disaster events. In further support, NEHA President Sandra Long has issued a declaration on National Preparedness Month.
CDC Disaster Shelter Assessment Toolkit
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed the Environmental Health Assessment Form for Disaster Shelters to assist environmental health practitioners in conducting a rapid assessment of shelter conditions during emergencies and disasters. The tool is an assessment form that covers 10 general areas of environmental health, ranging from basic food safety and water quality to pet (companion animal) wellness, and allows for the documentation of immediate needs in shelters. Users can easily modify the tool to meet local needs.
Preparedness & Response for Septic Systems
After a disaster, such as a hurricane, wildfire, or earthquake, septic systems may be damaged and fail to operate correctly. Ensuring that these systems function properly is essential to providing safe waste disposal for millions of Americans, yet there may be no standard safety protocol in place for using septic systems after a disaster occurs.
NEHA worked with subject matter experts and national partners to develop an easily accessible toolkit with guidance documents for different types of disasters.
Australasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies:
Disaster risk reduction continues to be linked to climate change resiliency. This paper looks at the international call for the development of formal accreditations around capacity development in these areas, as proposed by the 2015 United Nations landmark agreements.
Accredited qualifications for capacity development in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation (PDF)
FEMA Launches New Preparedness Feature to Smartphone App
FEMA creates a preparedness app for an on-the-go society.
Environmental Health Training in Emergency Response (EHTER)
NEHA is excited to be a partner in the administration of the EHTER Course. This course, developed by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) Environmental Health Services Branch (EHSB), is designed to provide emergency response training for environmental health professionals.
EHTER Training Course Opportunities
Awareness Level: The full 32-hour EHTER Course is currently being administered by FEMA, Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) online-only. The IS-305 EHTHER Awareness course can be accessed through the FEMA EMI online course catalog.
While there are no mandatory prerequisites for the EHTER Awareness Level course, it is recommended that students complete the following courses/trainings prior to attendance:
Read more information about the EHTER course.
Read more about the EHTER program and how it has helped prepare environmental health professionals.
Occupational Health and Safety
No one should have to sacrifice their life for their livelihood, because a nation built on the dignity of work must provide safe working conditions for its people. - Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
The National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) has a variety of resources to assist environmental health professionals to ensure worker safety, including ebola, emergency response, and chemical safety, among others.