Radiation topics make headlines in the national media on a regular basis, yet radiation is not always a topic that is prioritized in public health preparedness efforts. In the 2016 Preparedness Profile Assessment, 30 percent of local public health preparedness coordinators indicated accidental nuclear/radiation releases were among the top three threats they were least prepared to address and more than 25 percent indicated that they were not at all prepared to address issues related to accidental nuclear/radiation releases. Another 2016 assessment of local health department preparedness coordinators found that about 17 percent of local health departments do not have any radiation preparedness plans in place. While there are still gaps in radiation preparedness, the recent inclusion of radiation preparedness in state and local grant funding guidance has encouraged more health departments to begin developing radiation preparedness plans.
Another unique challenge is that radiation is a topic that many people fear and that few understand well. In addition, there are a wide range of available resources on radiation preparedness that can increase understanding of radiation topics and assist in state and local planning efforts. However, these resources have been created by an assortment of partners and available on many different websites. In an effort to make all of these resources easily accessible, NACCHO will catalogue guidelines in one place and make it available after the Twitter chat.
On Tuesday, June 5, from 2-3 p.m., ET, NACCHO will host a Twitter chat on radiation readiness to help raise awareness of radiation preparedness resources and information. The NACCHO Twitter handle (@NACCHOalerts) will host the chat using #RadReady. The target audience for the Twitter chat is federal, state, and local health department representatives hoping to learn more about radiation preparedness and engage in conversation with their public health peers on radiation preparedness topics. All Twitter users are also are welcome to participate. Topics scheduled to be covered during this chat include:
- Supporting Mass Care Operations / Radiation Sheltering
- Dispelling Common Radiation Myths / Misconceptions
- Radiation Response Volunteers
- Radiation Health Effects / Internal Contamination
- Risk Communication / Public Information
Visit the NACCHO Radiation webpage to learn more about radiation preparedness resources.