Emergency situations, such as natural disasters, terrorism events, or disease outbreaks, can happen anywhere in the blink of an eye. Environmental health professionals work with federal, state, and local agencies to ensure communities are prepared for these situations. They are also actively involved in the awareness, planning, response, and after-actions in emergency situations.
September Is National Preparedness Month
National Preparedness Month is recognized each September to promote family and community disaster planning now and throughout the year. As our nation continues to respond to COVID-19, there is no better time to be involved this September. The 2020 National Preparedness Month theme is "Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today."
NEHA advocates for national, state, and local policies, regulations, research, and resources that enhance the ability of environmental health professional to contribute to and benefit from emergency preparedness. NEHA supports National Preparedness Month and has provided numerous resources below to assist environmental health professionals in preparing for and responding to different disaster events.
CDC Disaster Shelter Assessment Toolkit
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed the Environmental Health Assessment Form for Disaster Shelters to assist environmental health practitioners in conducting a rapid assessment of shelter conditions during emergencies and disasters. The tool is an assessment form that covers 10 general areas of environmental health, ranging from basic food safety and water quality to pet (companion animal) wellness, and allows for the documentation of immediate needs in shelters. Users can easily modify the tool to meet local needs.
- Environmental Health Assessment Form for Disaster Shelters
- Environmental Health Disaster Shelter Assessment Guide
Preparedness & Response for Septic Systems
After a disaster, such as a hurricane, wildfire, or earthquake, septic systems may be damaged and fail to operate correctly. Ensuring that these systems function properly is essential to providing safe waste disposal for millions of Americans, yet there may be no standard safety protocol in place for using septic systems after a disaster occurs.
NEHA worked with subject matter experts and national partners to develop an easily accessible toolkit with guidance documents for different types of disasters.
Australasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies:
Disaster risk reduction continues to be linked to climate change resiliency. This paper looks at the international call for the development of formal accreditations around capacity development in these areas, as proposed by the 2015 United Nations landmark agreements.
FEMA Launches New Preparedness Feature to Smartphone App
FEMA creates preparedness app for an on-the-go society.
Environmental Health Training in Emergency Response (EHTER)
NEHA is excited to be a partner in administration of the EHTER Course. This course, developed by Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) Environmental Health Services Branch (EHSB), is designed to provide emergency response training for environmental health professionals.
EHTER Training Course Opportunities
Awareness Level: The full 32-hour EHTER Course is currently being administered by FEMA, Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) online-only. The IS-305 EHTHER Awareness course can be accessed through the FEMA EMI online course catalog.
While there are no mandatory prerequisites for the EHTER Awareness Level course, it is recommended that students complete the following courses/trainings prior to attendance:
Read more information about the EHTER course.
Read more about the EHTER program and how it has helped prepare environmental health professionals.
Occupational Health and Safety
No one should have to sacrifice their life for their livelihood, because a nation built on the dignity of work must provide safe working conditions for its people. - Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
The National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) has a variety of resources to assist environmental health professionals to ensure worker safety, including ebola, emergency response, and chemical safety, among others.