199211 Community-based Public Health clinic setting: A training exercise model for the National Incident Management System (NIMS)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Isabel Sondra Cassen, RN, BSN, MA , Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health, Montgomery County Government, Montgomery County Maryland, Rockville, MD
Susan Kitun, RN, MPH , Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, Germantown, MD
Public Health personnel may be called upon to participate in emergencies and disasters as diverse as hurricanes, pandemic flu or bioterrorism events. It is essential that staff in Public Health agencies be familiar with and able to function within National Incident Managment System in the event of such emergencies. This project shows how one local health center transformed its annual flu clinic into a yearly exercise in incident command using the following components: moving the setting into a community center; coordinating with the Police and Recreation Departments; utilizing the Emergency Preparedness and Immunization programs, including public health center staff, volunteers and CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) to provide flu vaccine to the community, and helping staff become comfortable in their assigned roles within NIMS. The Public Health center's yearly reinforcement of how NIMS operates, practicing incident command in a real-time public health clinic, in an environment that is not as frenetic as it might be in an actual disaster, is a real help in maintaining the skills of the first responders.

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain an alternative model for a real time NIMS exercise instead of a fabricated practice or a disaster. 2. Describe the benefits of a community-based clinic approach in an emergency preparedness exercise.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have paracticed nursing for 30 years in the area of Public Health as a staff nurse, administrator and now Director of Community Health Servies in Public Health Services, Department of Health and Human Service, Montgomery County, Maryland. I taught nursing at Prince Georges Community College for 2 years. I have planned, organized, implemented many public health programs, evaluated and taught during my lengthy career. One of my responsibilies in Public Health is NIMS training and practicing emergency preparedness. Also, I assure that all 150 staff in my section are trained and an exercise incident command. In addition, I am the Incident Commander for the Stategic National Stockpile in the County.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.