By Porschea Lewis, MPH, NACCHO Senior Program Analyst
Last month NACCHO, joined the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and thousands of other public health organizations in the promotion of National Preparedness Month, aimed at better equipping every day citizens with the tools to prepare for and respond to emergencies. NACCHO, not only planned a series of external messaging efforts promoting local health departments and partners to increase community awareness and involvement, but also strived for their staff to lead by example.
Each week the preparedness team hosted activities aimed to increase staff engagement and excitement as ambassadors of National Preparedness Month. Focused on the five 2016 CDC weekly themes, staff members used their creativity to put the FUN in the fundamentals of preparedness by putting a spin on popular games like “Pokémon Prep,” and “Preparedness Pictionary.” Several engaging presenters also led interactive workshops, featuring role playing exercises.
Read onward for the highlights of each week’s activities and links to each insightful NACCHO authored blog post. Finally, make sure to stay tuned for our upcoming feature blog highlighting the many local health departments generating community awareness and support about emergency planning, response, and recovery throughout the month of September and beyond!
If you’re Inspired to share you agency’s creative, unique or life-saving preparedness efforts, don’t wait, contact the NACCHO Preparedness team to highlight your photos, stories, videos, model practices and more via this email!
Week 1 (Sept 1-2)| Theme: Prepare Globally
Week one of preparedness month NACCHO started things off with the promotion of the Preparedness Month pledge and our corresponding social media badge. Staff were encouraged to spotlight National Preparedness month 2016 via social media using our hashtag #Pledge4Prep and participation in the NACCHO photo contest. Just like NACCHO Senior Adviser, Dr. Oscar Alleyne, pictured above, highlighting his #Pledge4Prep pride by capturing a special preparedness Pokémon in his pocket, during one of week five’s staff activities.
Week 2 (Sept 5-9) Theme: Prepare to Respond
During week 2, NACCHO officially kicked off our planned staff activities with a fun community resilience role playing game. Focused on how best to build community resilience in the face of disaster this fast paced disaster simulation reinforced the need to build coalitions, pool resources, and focus on both short and long term planning effects.
Lead by NACCHO’s own Senior Program Analysts, Tahlia Gousse and Sarah Summers, program staff were challenged to work together, pictured above, while navigating the different community sectors. The overall theme being to become resilient it takes all of us!
Click here to view this week’s blog post authored by Sarah Summers.
Week 3 (Sept 12-16) Theme: Prepare Locally
This week NACCHO recognized the importance to “prepare locally” with a focus on our internal Concept of Operations Plan (CONOPS) and Crisis Emergency Risk Communications (CERC) Plans. Presented by NACCHOs Marketing & Communications Specialist Andrea Grenadier, this training provided staff with a basic overview of NACCHOS activities, as well as specific staff roles and responsibilities before, during, and after a response.
Week 4 (Sept 19-23) Theme: Prepare Together
During this week MRC Unit leader of Loudon MRC, Francis Rath, provided an in-person FEMA ICS-100 training to several members of NACCHO’s program team. Francis’s thorough introduction to the incident command system (ICS) was vital as it is cited as a requested staff training component in NACCHO’s Preparedness Concept of Operations Plan (CONOPS).
Following, this informative and useful training, staff were treated to a relaxing day at the annual NACCHO picnic. The event also happened to include an option to play “Preparedness Pictionary.” Competitive nature slowing ensued, pictured above, as each team fought for the winning spot by drawing and guessing preparedness-related visuals.
Week 5 (Sept 26-30) Theme: Prepare yourself
Week 5 of preparedness month activities began first with a brown bag titled, “Social Equity in Preparedness Planning.” Provided by Senior Program Analyst, Porschea Lewis, and Program Analyst Sarah Getachew, this discussion highlighted the importance of local health departments striving to address vulnerable members within their Emergency Operations Plans (EOPs). The conversation highlighted research how outcomes in a disaster may vary greatly depending on a person’s age, race, gender, social class, English language acquisition, and disability status. The presentation concluded with great discussion on practical ways local health departments can best address their most vulnerable.
Finally, NACCHO ended National Preparedness Month awareness by engaging staff in a global mobile phenomena, Pokémon Go, with a special preparedness twist, with a very suiting name of Pokémon Prep! To play (and win!) the Pokémon Prep game, staff were tasked with catching Pokémon, answering trivia questions, and completing various preparedness related tasks. Points were awarded based on question or task difficulty. One entry pictures on the left, shows a Pokemon sitting atop critical emergency supplies, including drinking water, a first aid kit and duct tape.
This activity was the creative brainchild of NACCHO Senior Program Analysis, Erin Rodgers, Geoffrey Mwaungulu, and Stephen Maheux. Participating staff thoroughly enjoyed trying to catch the most Pokémon – and successfully complete tasks and questions. The winner received a $50 gift card!