There are two types of disasters, natural disasters as well as human- made disasters. Natural disasters are defined as unpreventable or natural causes such as hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes and Tsunamis are some examples. Communities have begun popping up everywhere from the costal ranges; to mountain range to the well know tornado alley area in the mid- west. Families and individuals of these communities pay extra insurance fees to live in these zones however, when disaster strikes, insurance payouts become greater than the payments received causing other economic disaster develop & Ruben, 2010).
It is understood by many that these insurances are necessary but many do not understand otherwise how to be prepared for disaster. Disaster Preparedness is a must among individuals, families as well as entire communities as a whole. Public Health Nurses role in disaster preparedness Disaster management includes four stages: Prevention (or mitigation), preparedness, response, and recovery. Nurses have skills that enable them to work in all aspects of disasters, such as assessment, priority setting, collaboration, health education, disease screening and mass clinic management.
Nurses also have the ability to provide essential public health services, make referrals, serve as a liaison among organizations and health care and social service providers, and provide psychological first aid, triage and rapid needs assessment (Stanhope, 2014). As always the primary function is prevention as well as preparedness. During the prevention phase home owners as well as renters, need to take caution in their property. For instance those living in high earthquake areas should include structural measures when building or purchasing a home or renting a residence develop, 2010).
Those whom choose to be in wildfire areas should plan for property maintenance for example fire breaks around the perimeter Of the properties as well as water availability. During the prevention stage Awareness and education come into play. In prevention communities should meet and develop disaster plans. These plans should include meeting places evacuation plans as well as the nurse should be familiar with the pharmaceutical aspect and how the strategic national stockpile will be distributed. These plans are only as good as the people and the communities hey are in.
Communities should practice disaster drills much like schools do. Some media and community education ideas can be to ask your community to develop stronger building codes. Building codes are the publics first line of defense against earthquakes. The codes specify the levels of earthquake forces that structures must be designed to withstand. As ground motions Of greater intensity have been recorded, the minimum earthquake requirements specified in building codes have been raised (develop, 2010). Education can be accomplished in many ways, publish a special section in our local newspaper with emergency information on earthquakes.
Localize the information by printing the phone numbers of local emergency services offices, the American Red Cross, and hospitals. Conduct a week-long newspaper series on locating hazards in the home. Work with local emergency services and American Red Cross officials to prepare special reports for people with mobility impairments about what to do during an earthquake. Provide tips on conducting earthquake drills in the home. Interview representatives of the gas, electric, and water companies about shutting off utilities and determine how this will take place.
These are all items the public health nurse can also work with the community to establish. In the response or secondary phase, a disaster has been declared. The first level of response occurs at the local level. This level begins with emergency responders, public health nurses as well as law enforcement. During this phase a destruction assessment is completed to determine the amount of attention and resources needed. When state resources and capabilities are overwhelmed, governors may request federal assistance under a presidential disaster or emergency declaration (Stanhope, 2014). The secondary phase is the actual happening of the disaster.
While disaster is occurring public health nurses aide in the setup of medical facility at the designated area. Here individuals are triage and treated or determined the order at which emergency personnel takes them to nearby hospitals. Pens may also begin psychological treatment to minimize hysteria. The last phase is Recovery. Recovery is the community returning to the ruble with a goal of rebuilding and understanding lessons learned. Hindsight plays a vital role in this phase. Families start to realize better precautions hey could have taken or understand how they can improve evacuation plans.
The public Health nurse begins to help with the planning of food, water, housing as well as the damages to septic systems that could create illness to the returning families. Not only do families and communities need to have disaster plans but nearby and surrounding hospitals must also have disaster plan in order to care for an overwhelming population at one given time. Our local hospitals have a mutual disaster plan in place. Having several hospitals in a 15-20 mile radius, these plans are the same through the county. However each plans evacuation in the event of a hospital disaster is different.
Physicians are integral to hospital disaster planning and response. Each department has a disaster plan specific to their individual needs such as evacuation response. Medical staff office has a plan for emergency privileging. The local hospitals have a disaster committee and a disaster plan, which outlines the overall response: Code Triage Alert: Informs appropriate staff that an event has occurred that could potentially impact the facility. Code Triage Internal: the activation of the organizations Emergency Operation’s plan (POP) to respond o an event that has occurred within the facility.
Examples are flooding, fire, electrical outage. Code Triage External: the activation of the organizations Emergency Operations Plan (FOP) to respond to an external event that has disrupted, or may disrupt, the facility normal operations. Examples are fog- related incidents, multi-casualty car crashes, and earthquakes. When we activate Code Triage Internal and External, we activate the Hospital Incident Command System (HISS) to manage a coordinated and standardized response within Community Medical Centers and in cooperation with County, State and Federal agencies (Community Medical Centers, 2014).
When interviewing an employee of the local community hospital, the example was given in regards to response to disaster planning; if a surveyor stopped you in the hall and asked, “What would you do if a disaster occurred? ‘ You might respond with: “l would hear the overhead call for disaster activation. An incident command center would be established with facility operations directing our response to the disaster. Would receive information and direction from the physician in charge in the command center. I would assist tit the medical care of affected patients, including admission and discharge. Earthquake as a natural disaster Our area has been well known for its earthquakes as we live close to the San Andrea Fault line. The writer being a person formerly of the Coaling area (near the fault), has determined the necessity of earthquake disaster planning. The first step to disaster planning of earthquakes is to determine potential hazards in and around the home and begin to fix them. This includes anything heavy enough to harm you if it falls. Keep in mind ornamental things such as pottery can be potentially deadly if fallen from above shelving.
Costly items such as televisions and computers can be secured to the walls or desks they reside on. Large furniture such as book shelves should be securely fastened to the wall studs to prevent them from falling over. Next create the written plan with diagram. Select a safe place Outside Of your home to meet your family or housemates after the shaking. Designate an out-of-area contact person who can be called by everyone in the household to relay information. Obtain a NOAA Weather Radio with the Public Alert feature to notify you of earthquakes and other hazards.
Provide al family members with a list of important contact phone numbers in the case of separation. Determine where you might live if your home cannot be occupied after a disaster. In total loss it will take time for rebuild or for the purchase or rental of a different home. Know about the earthquake plan developed by your children’s school or day care. This will help hysteria if in fact an earthquake struck during the time your child was not in your care(Marginal, Ramose, &Guran, 2010). Keep school emergency release card(s) current.
Keep copies of essential documents, such as identification, insurance policies, and financial records, in a secure, waterproof container, and keep with your disaster supplies kits. Include a household inventory (a list and photos or video of your belongings). You may have to take additional steps, especially if someone has a disability or other access and functional needs. Register with your local fire department for assistance so needed help can be provided. Electrical, water, transportation, and other vital systems can be disrupted for several days or much longer in some places after a large earthquake.
Emergency response agencies and hospitals could be overwhelmed and unable to provide you with immediate assistance. Everyone should have personal disaster supplies kits. Keep them where you spend most of your time, so they can be reached even if your building is badly damaged. These kits should include items such as; Medications, prescription list, copies Of medical cards, doctor’s name and contact information, Medical consent forms for dependents, First aid kit and handbook, Examination gloves (non-latex), Dust mask, Spare eyeglasses or contact lenses and cleaning solution, Bottled water Whistle (to alert rescuers to your location),
Sturdy shoes, Emergency cash (Tams might not work), Small bills and coins are the best, Copies of personal identification (driver’s license, work ID card, etc. Road maps, List of emergency out-of-area contact phone numbers, Snack foods, high in water and calories, Working flashlight with extra batteries and light bulbs, or light sticks, Personal hygiene supplies, Comfort items such as games, crayons, writing materials, teddy bears. After the earthquake, remember that children will be under great stress. They may be frightened, their routine will probably be disrupted, and the aftershocks won’t let them roger the experience (Marginal, 2010).
Adults may need to leave their children in order to deal with the many demands of the emergency, but this can be devastating to children. These comforting items are their necessities. Toiletries and special provisions you need for yourself and others in your family including elderly, disabled, small children, and animals, if you have difficulty communicating, keep a note-book, pencils, etc. In several locations (Red Cross 2014). What to do during the disaster If you are… Landlords: Drop, cover, and hold on. Drop to the floor; take cover ender a sturdy desk or table, and hold on to it firmly.
Be prepared to move with it until the shaking stops. If you are not near a desk or table, drop to the floor against the interior wall and protect your head and neck with your arms. Avoid exterior walls, windows, hanging objects, mirrors, tall furniture, large appliances, and kitchen cabinets with heavy objects or glass. Do not go outside! If you are already Outdoors: Move to a clear area if you can safely do so; avoid power lines, trees, signs, buildings, vehicles, and other hazards. Perhaps an earthquake strikes while Driving: Pull over to the side of the road, Stop, and set the parking brake.
Avoid overpasses, bridges, power lines, signs and other hazards. Stay inside the vehicle until the shaking is over. If a power line falls on the car, stay inside until a trained person removes the wire. These are just a few of the most common things to do to protect you the best way possible. What to do following the disaster First take care of your own situation. Remember your emergency plans. Aftershocks may cause additional damage or items to fall, so get to a safe location. Take your disaster supplies kit. If you are trapped by falling items or collapse, protect your mouth, nose, and eyes from dust.
If you are bleeding, put pressure on the wound and elevate the injured part. Signal for help with your emergency whistle, a cell phone, or knock loudly on solid pieces of the building three times every few minutes. Rescue personnel will be listening for such sounds(Red Cross, 2014). Once you are safe, help others and check for damage. Protect yourself by wearing sturdy shoes and work gloves, to avoid injury from broken glass and debris. Also wear a dust mask and eye protection. Following large disastrous earthquakes often comes fire from electrical supplies, downed power lines etc.
Be sure to place yourself out of harm’s way when you begin to assess the damage. This is a time of transition. Although aftershocks may continue, you will now work toward getting your life, your home and family, and your routines back in order. Emotional care and recovery are just as important as healing physical injuries and rebuilding a home. Make sure your home is safe to occupy and not in danger of collapse in aftershocks. If you were able to remain in your home or return to it after a few days, you will have a variety of tasks to accomplish.