Southeastern Idaho Public Health

Your Public Health Preparedness

The Public Health Preparedness (PHP) program was created to prepare and respond to public health threats and emergencies from various sources, such as:

Natural Disasters

  • Floods Tornadoes
  • Earthquakes
  • Severe weather conditions (hot or cold)
  • Wildfires

Disease Outbreaks

  • Communicable diseases - such as severe flu epidemics
  • Environmental diseases - such as foodborne illness outbreaks (salmonella, etc.) and zoonotic disease outbreaks (rabies, West Nile Virus, etc.)

Bioterrorism Events

  • Use of biological agents such as smallpox or anthrax

Emergency Response Plan

PHP is also responsible for the development of emergency response plans including:

  • Epidemic detection and response
  • Use of the Strategic National Stockpile supplies
  • Vaccination of the general public

Communications

The PHP also facilitates communications between local health providers, the State of Idaho, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These communications are maintained via a Health Alert Network (HAN) which is an infrastructure of secure Internet connections, fax machines and satellite connections. The HAN makes rapid dissemination of important public health information and alerts possible.


Epidemiological Surveillance

Public health professionals continually assess the general health of the community through various surveillance methods. By tracking certain diseases and syndromes (groups of symptoms) within the community, local surveillance provides the information needed for public health decision-making and establishing public health priorities. Epidemiological surveillance will also be managed by the PHP program by creating a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week communications infrastructure utilizing HAN to send and receive urgent disease and public threat information.


Public Information and Risk Communication

It is the policy of Public Health Preparedness to keep the public informed concerning health issues. Information is regularly distributed to the media, health professionals, and the public through news releases, public service announcements, e-mail, fax, and letters.

Public Health Preparedness has developed an "All Hazards" Risk Communications Plan that will keep the public informed during a public health emergency. The plan includes various ways to provide consistent information to the media and public through:

  • Public Service Announcements
  • Coordinated messaging
  • District 6 Regional Public Information Officer group
  • Media partnerships

Education and Training

The PHP program is continuously updating training resources that can be used to educate Health Department employees, medical professionals and the public. Education programs are also supplied by the State and CDC via webcast and satellite broadcasts. These educational materials play a critical role in preparing for public health emergencies.

  • Creation of various training materials including disaster desktop exercises.
  • Creation of a training library for emergency preparedness and response materials.

Southeastern Idaho Public Health (SIPH) conducts health preparedness training that encompasses many organizational levels throughout the agency and the region. We conduct this training to help prepare our staff, and response partners, for a variety of circumstances that may require jurisdiction-wide emergency response measures.

SIPH has an Initial Response Team that regularly participates in Incident Command training. This training includes both an overview of the Incident Command System (ICS) and practice of ICS roles through tabletop, functional, and full-scale emergency preparedness exercises. Following an "all-hazards" approach, SIPH implements this, and other related training to SIPH employees. The all-hazards approach is preferable, since our response to most incidents would be similar, whether it involves earthquakes, flood, a naturally-occurring disease outbreak, or a biological attack. SIPH also encourages and provides opportunities for staff to expand their preparedness skills by attending external trainings at the state, regional, and national level.

Upon request, SIPH provides training to our local hospitals on the Hospital Emergency Incident Command System (HEICS). This course generally includes an introduction to the ICS structure for hospitals and a tabletop exercise that is tailored to the rural nature of Southeast Idaho. In addition to providing training events, SIPH partners with local hospitals, emergency services, law enforcement, Homeland Security, private industry, and others to plan for timely, appropriate, and well-coordinated responses to public health emergencies.

In addition to the above, SIPH conducts training for our volunteer Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) on various topics, including smallpox vaccination, Strategic National Stockpile, and other preparedness-related topics.

Located in our submenu on the top under "Training Websites", you will find links to recommended self-study courses that have been developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). These courses are especially relevant to organizations and individuals that are interested in learning more about emergency preparedness and response:

Informational Websites

Download Title
  Introduction to Incident Command System - IS-100
  Special Events Contingency Planning for Public Safety Agencies - IS15
  Leadership & Influence - IS-240
  Effective Communication - IS-242
  Decision Making and Problem Solving - IS-241
  The Role of Voluntary Agencies in Emergency Management - IS-288
  Developing and Managing Volunteers - IS-244
  Emergency Planning - IS-235
  National Incident Management System (Introduction) IS-700
  Are You Ready? Guide
  CDC Learning Connection
  Family Disaster Supply Calendar
  Personal Information Form
  Your Guide to Pets and Emergencies

All the above Independent Study Courses are offered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Some or all of them could be helpful in job performance improvement. A list of additional courses is available at http://training.fema.gov/IS/crslist.asp.

PRIVATE CITIZENS who are interested in gaining a better knowledge of preparedness can access other FEMA independent studies. SIPH recommends the following:

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Preparedness Links

Download Title
  Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention Emergency Preparedness & Response
  Idaho Department of Health & Welfare
  Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security
  Homeland Security Newsletter
  Citizen Corps Council
  Prepare. Plan. Stay Informed. Ready.gov
  FEMA Independent Study Program
  PAN FLU Idaho
  Ready Idaho
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Training Websites

Download Title
  Just In Time Disaster Training - Library
  A Citizen's Guide to Disaster Assistance - IS-7
  Animals in Disaster - Module A: Awareness and Preparedness - IS 10
  Animals in Disaster - Module B: Community Planning - IS 11
  Household Hazardous Materials - A Guide for Citizens - IS-55
  Livestock in Disasters - IS-111
  Introduction to Hazard Mitigation - IS-393A
  Protecting Your Home or Small Business from Disaster - IS 394A
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