Hurricane Season Ready: Preparedness and Response Resources

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) is closely monitoring Hurricane Florence and is ready to assist and support local health departments with response and recovery efforts.

This page will be updated continually. Please reach out to NACCHO’s Preparedness team for additional updates or assistance.

Local health departments are life-saving first responders to natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, floods and earthquakes, as well as to other public health emergencies such as disease outbreaks, major accidents and terrorist attacks.The nearly 3,000 local health departments across our nation stand ready to help protect residents and families from hurricanes and all sorts of natural disasters and play a vital role in any recovery efforts. Their dedicated staffs work year-round to prepare and are on call 24 hours a day, every day, to respond when needed.

Local Health Departments’ Role in in Hurricane and Flooding Response and Recovery 

Following a disaster, public health has a critical role in helping communities recover. Following hurricane and flooding disasters, local health departments are often called upon to conduct enhanced disease surveillance in shelters and their communities, perform environmental health inspections of restaurants, businesses, and homes, assist families returning to the impacted areas get reconnected with social services (e.g., nutrition programs, mental health), and provide a surge of immunizations (e.g., tetanus.)

As the association representing local health departments, NACCHO will continue to assist and support these departments with their response and recovery efforts. We extend our appreciation and support to the first responders, public health, emergency management, healthcare and other partners and individuals who will help our communities to respond and recover.

As a partner with local health departments, NACCHO has compiled a variety of resources to help local health departments prepare for, respond to, and recover from hurricanes and flooding. These resources were developed by NACCHO and health departments to help address key public health threats during and following a hurricane or major flooding event. They are meant to complement the resources and guidance provided by federal agencies such as CDC, ASPR, and FEMA.

Post-Hurricane and Flooding 

  • Air Quality Profile related to mold and health impacts
  • CDC’s Carbon Monoxide Toolkit
  • Single resource document compiling links to resources on the most common public health issues following a hurricane or flooding event
  • CDC’s Key messages from the 2017 hurricane season which includes guidance for addressing mold and preventing injury for individuals returning to their homes (page 25-29)
  • Lessons learned from man-made environmental disasters that followed Hurricane Harvey

Vector-Control

  • Residential checklist for mosquito breeding sites (English I Spanish)
  • Operational Checklist for health departments in the event of local Dengue, Chikungunya, or Zika transmission

Mental/Behavioral Health

Food Safety 

  • Just-in-time training for environmental health professionals conducting assessments of food-borne disease outbreak investigations
  • Reference Handbook for food managers at food service establishments following an emergency (available in five languages)
  • Guidelines for food safety in emergency shelters and mass feeding centers (San Luis Obispo County)

Water Safety

Risk and Emergency Communications

Volunteering and Donations

  • All local health departments are encouraged to stand by for requests through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) for support to hurricane impacted areas
  • Consider registering to volunteer with a local Medical Reserve Corps Unit
  • If you are an organization who is interested in volunteering or contributing to hurricane relief efforts contact NVOAD

Federal Resources and Guidance

  • CDC’s Hurricane webpage and 2017 hurricane MMWR [1] which contains an extensive list of resources on hurricane preparations, flooding, injury prevention, chemical hazards, mold, surveillance, and air quality for the public, public health professionals, and healthcare workers in English and Spanish.
  • FEMA’s Hurricane webpage
  • ASPR’s Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE) hurricane and flooding resources.
  • The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)’s Key Messages for employers, workers, and volunteers.
  • The National Library of Medicine (NLM’s) Hurricane Portal, has several resources on hurricane health issues, environmental impacts and clean-up, worker and responder safety, and pet preparedness. Many resources are also available in other languages.
  • The Office of Health Affairs’ Community Health Resilience (CHR) Guide and Toolkit can be used to submit and/or receive tools that assist with disaster response and resilience efforts.
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has compiled information in this document which provides helpful tips for medicare beneficiaries living in an area that has been declared an emergency or disaster.
  • The Small Business Administration‘s information on business continuity, disaster relief, and recovery information.

NACCHO encourages local health officials and others to direct any questions or requests to the NACCHO Preparedness team at preparedness@naccho.org.

This post was updated on Sept. 12, 2018. 

[1] Hurricane Season Public Health Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Guidance for Health Care Providers, Response and Recovery Workers, and Affected Communities — CDC, 2017. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2017;66:995-998. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6637e1

About Katie Dwyer

Katie Schemm Dwyer is a Director in NACCHO's Preparedness Division. Her work focuses on supporting local health departments strengthen public health preparedness systems through governance, coordination and liaison with federal preparedness organizations, policy, and program management.

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