MMWR: Participation in Community Preparedness Programs in HSOs and FBOs

With training from health departments, human services organizations and houses of worship can be neighborhood assets in preparing for and recovering from public health emergencies. See MMWR.

Recognizing the importance of community-based organizations in community preparedness, the Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response in New York City’s (NYC) Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) launched a Community Preparedness Program (CPP) in 2016 which engaged two sectors, human-services and faith-based organizations. To strengthen preparedness for public health emergencies in these organizations, the program conducted eight in-person preparedness trainings focused on developing plans for:

  • 1) continuity of operations,
  • 2) emergency management,
  • 3) volunteer management,
  • 4) emergency communications,
  • 5) emergency notification systems,
  • 6) communication with at-risk persons,
  • 7) assessing emergency resources, and
  • 8) dedicated emergency funds.

Data obtained through online surveys administered during June–September 2018 were analyzed to compare planning by organizations that were trained with those not trained. Organizations that participated in CPP trainings significantly strengthened their emergency preparedness capacity by having better plans for continuity of operations, emergency management, volunteer management, and emergency communication than did those that did not participate.

NYC’s CPP can serve as a model for other health departments seeking to build community preparedness through partnership with community-based organizations. Read the full report to learn more.

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