Public health is the art and science of disease prevention, promoting health and prolonging life through informed choices and organized efforts of the society, communities, organizations, and individuals. It is primarily concerned with the threats to the health based on the health analysis of the population. Public health emergency preparedness and response focus on prevention against spread of diseases, epidemics and injuries as well as protect individuals against environmental hazards such as fire. Besides, it concentrates in accessibility of quality health care services as well as promotes healthy behaviors. In this paper, I primarily concentrate on public health preparedness and response using The Neighborhood as a case study. The main aim is to demonstrate the role of various stakeholders in the process of public health preparedness and emergency response. The Neighborhood in the fifth episode, season two, and a wildfire is reported. The fire remains uncontained for about five days. However, its effects are evident in the community.
Events That Took Place in Episode 5
The neighborhood wildfire has increased the number of people with asthma and emphysema admitted. The resources in the hospital have been strained especially in the emergency department, for instance, shortage in beds. The hospital is therefore under pressure to discharge patients. The morale of the health care officials has been reduced by the workload. In the school, the impact of pollution due to the wildfire is evident in Kelsey Young story, an asthmatic student. Young is found by the school nurse to have increased respiratory rate and had a wheezing in her lungs. Besides the effects of the fire is evident in the senior Center clinic. Karen William one of the nurses made discoveries that some of the residents such as Mr. Dallion required more oxygen following the wildfire. Mr. Dallion experiences cough which is associated with being exposed to smoke. The effects of the wildfire are also evident in numerous households. Jimmy Bley’s household is one of them. Jimmy suffers from hearing loss and emphysema. Jimmy’s condition has been deteriorating since the outbreak since he is among the people considered to be at high risk of adverse effects (Harris, 2009).
Health Care Workers Response Regarding the Key Characters within the Episode
With the cases of the wildfire breaking out, the professionals in the health care took some actions to avoid the situation. At the school, the nurse advised the mother of Kelsey to bring an inhaler for Kelsey to school. With the uncontained fire breakout, the action was appropriate since Kelsey had experienced breathing problems. The geriatric nurse gave an appropriate advice to the residents. The residents were advised to remain indoors to reduce their level of exposure. At Bley’s Household, Jimmy is saved by the health care professionals when he is brought to emergency department. The health care professionals managed to bring back the normal livelihood of jimmy.
Role of Public Health Care Teams in the Neighborhood
The public health team in the neighborhood had numerous roles which aimed at preventing the side effects of the wild fire. First, the primary role is to conduct surveillance to determine the extent to which the fire impact on health. They provide medication and advise the people on appropriate health behaviors. The team had to determine how the locals’ health would be affected by the fire whose end was not known. Secondly, the team has to carry out an epidemiological investigation to establish how the effects are spreading and the vulnerable individuals. The smoke emitted by the fire happens to have affected much the people suffering from the respiratory problems. Besides, the team has the responsibility of undertaking laboratory investigations and analysis to develop better methods of preventing the effects of the fire within the neighborhood (Jakeway, et al., 2008, 353). Also the team had a role of developing interventions to protect the people in the neighborhood from risks arising from the fire outbreak. The public health care teams have a critical responsibility in remediation of the fire outbreak by decontaminating various sites for instance the hospital and other facilities that they identify. The team also plays an important role in promoting and encouraging healthy practices during the emergency. It is important to note that the effects of a natural disaster are highly faced through psychological effects of terror and fear. The public health officials therefore, had an obligation of securing the areas that are not save to be in as a result of the fire, for instance where there was high smoke. In addition, the public health officials are tasked with preparedness planning. They ought to have put in place measures to mitigate the health effects of the environmental hazards such as the fire outbreak as it is in the Neighborhood.
Role of Nurses That Initially Responded To the Emergency
Public Health Nurses played a critical role in coordinating the emergency response during the outbreak of fire in the Neighborhood. They used their good understanding of disaster cycles in responding to the health care problems that was caused by the fire outbreak. Basically, the public health nurses conducted hazard vulnerability assessment to establish the people at risk. This would enhance adoption of workable and efficient preventive measures. The nurses also had a role of carrying out testing specific to the fire outbreak. The nurses have also very vital in development of the preparedness programs during the event of the fire outbreak. In addition, the nurses provided drills, training and exercises to the people of the Neighborhood who visited the hospital. The nurses taught the locals how to give first aid to anybody who happens to be affected by the fire. The nurses also brought leadership, planning, policy and practice expertise to disaster response and preparedness. They provided psychological support to the affected individuals and communities affected by the disaster. Besides, the public health nurses had the responsibility of minimizing the vulnerability through mitigation measures.
Types of Nurses
In The neighborhood the public health nurses are demonstrates as the first responders during an event of community emergency. The geriatric nurse and the school nurse are the first individuals to treat and respond to the incidences related to the wildfire. Such nurses, often interact with the particular sections of the community each day hence, in a better place to tell the changes that occur among the groups of people within their locality. Nevertheless, the duty of monitoring the effects of emergencies community should not be a role of the public health nurses only. The family members of Jimmy take him to the hospital and nurses in various departments in the hospital collaborate to heal him. Through evaluating the incidences reported in the hospitals related to an emergency, for instance, nurses can assist the hospital create a better capacity to provide service to a larger population if the situation aggravates.
Public Health Agencies
The local government could have assisted in the disaster through offering the initial emergency response by its services agencies. Also, the local government had the responsibility of activating the local Emergency Operation Center as well as the Emergency Operations Plan. The local government further, had an obligation of proclaiming the disaster local state of emergency. Besides, a mutual aid would have been established by the government. In addition, it could have notified the state emergency management of the magnitude of the fire outbreak and request for assistance from the state government. The state government primarily could have reviewed and evaluated the situation and recommend appropriate actions. It could have supplied the local government with resources and facilities that would enable them handle the situation. However, in the case that the disaster was beyond their capabilities the state had an obligation of declaring a state of emergency as well as requesting assistance from the federal government. The federal government on the other hand had a responsibility of providing its assistance after being called upon by the state government. Basically, after conducting the damage assessment with local and state government the federal government would initiate a Federal response Plan whereby concentration would be focused on mitigating the fire outbreak. Again the Federal government could have created the Emergency Support Team which could have helped the locals and the local public health officials in bringing the fire outbreak. The most primary function could have been channeling resources to the local government.
How Public Health Care Teams Enhances the Citizens' Preparedness for Community Emergencies
The health care official enhances the preparedness for community emergencies through collaboration with the local leaders. The health care teams establish disaster panning committees that are able to mobilize people in support of management of a disaster. The health care teams provide training and education on disasters to ensure that the community members can help one another during an emergency (Lee, et al., 2009, 321). The community is made aware of the hazards that are vulnerable to. In addition, the citizens of the community are made part of the plans. This enhances the community citizens to own the disaster management initiatives that are established by the health care officials.
The Bley Household
After the breakout of the wildfire, the health care professionals ought to have kept a close interaction with Jimmy to monitor his condition since he had already been diagnosed with emphysema. The team could have advised the family members on the condition of Jimmy and his vulnerability with the wildfire based on his medical history. This would have ensured that jimmy was taken to the hospital regularly foe examination immediately the deterioration signs had begun appearing (CDC, 2011). The alert would have also helped the family pursued Jimmy to let go of smoking and closely monitor him since the act increased his vulnerability to critical consequences following exposure to wildfire’s smoke. The health care team would have prevented Jimmy’s healthcare from deteriorating through putting in place such measures. The health of Jimmy had worsened to the extent of using oxygen after discharge (Bley’s household, 2009).
Community emergency preparedness and response is one of the most vital factors among the communities. It has to be noted that each community is vulnerable to a given disaster; therefore, being prepared to respond to the disaster at any given time it breakout is very critical. Each individual in the society should be prepared for to handle any disaster. However, as much as the public health care professionals play a big role in preparedness and response, it should not be left to be their responsibility alone. All the stakeholders in the society from the individuals, the community, local, state and national government among other agencies should take part in ensuring the safety of themselves and the entire community (Jakeway et al., 2008, 342). Besides the respective governments and health care professionals ought to provide relevant information to the individuals, sine information is the only power to overcome disaster.
Bley household. (2009). Retrieved from http://www.pearsonneighborhood.com/lvl3/households/bley/bley,household_week01.cfm
CDC. (2011). Emergency preparedness and response. Retrieved from http://emergency.cdc.gov/
Jakeway, C. C., LaRosa, G., Cary, A. & Schoenfisch, S. (2008). Emergency preparedness and response: A position paper of the association of state and territorial directors of nursing. Public Health Nursing
Harris, J. (2009). Neighborhood news. The Neighborhood, season 2, Episode 5.
Lee, T., Falter, K., Meyer, P., Mott, J. & Gwynn, C. (2009). Risk factors associated with clinic visits during the 1999 forest fires near the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation, California, and USA. International Journal of Environmental Health Research