FEMA 2016 National Preparedness Report Released
June 24, 2016 12:59 PM
The United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently released the 2016 National Preparedness Report assessing the state of the nation’s preparedness. The Report presents examples of preparedness progress in recent years, as well as findings across the mission categories of Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response, and Recovery.
Included in the report is an assessment of the nation’s public health preparedness. While noting examples of progress in this realm, the Report also points to areas where improvement is needed. One such area where improvement is needed is in protecting against cyber breaches, which pose a threat to health care and other industries.
“Three core capabilities have demonstrated acceptable levels of performance, but face performance declines if not maintained to address emerging challenges,” the Report states. “These capabilities to sustain are Planning; Public Health, Healthcare, and Emergency Medical Services; and Risk and Disaster Resilience Assessment.”
Following are some of the key findings in the Report pertaining to public health:
Cyber breaches that target personal information demonstrate the importance of cybersecurity information sharing between the public and private sectors, particularly in increasingly targeted industries, such as healthcare.
HHS launched the HHS emPOWER Map, which is a public, interactive map that uses Federal health data and NOAA severe-weather services to help Federal, state, local, and community partners anticipate, plan for, and respond to the needs of electricity-dependent individuals, whose lives may be threatened or lost by a severe weather–induced power outage.
Federal agencies and state and local health organizations have taken actions to enhance the Nation’s response capabilities following challenges encountered during the 2014–2015 Ebola virus disease outbreak.
The Recovery mission area is focused on a timely restoration, strengthening, and revitalization of the infrastructure; housing; a sustainable economy; and the health, social, cultural, historic, and environmental fabric of communities affected by a catastrophic incident.
New research and recent Federal initiatives encourage decision-makers to incorporate health considerations into all aspects of disaster recovery planning.
The Federal Government is expanding health information-sharing systems to enhance pre-disaster recovery planning and post-disaster research capabilities for health and social services.
Behavioral Health in Recovery: Since 2012, the Federal Government has increasingly incorporated behavioral health considerations into response and recovery efforts through implementation of the HHS Disaster Behavioral Health Concept of Operations, and the deployment of HHS mental health teams and new psychological first-aid training for first responders.
HHS, Health Researchers, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: In 2015, researchers concluded 31 research projects funded by HHS to support post–Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts. These projects generated best practices and tools to enhance future recovery efforts, including insights into the provision of mental health services and tools to enhance coordination between local health departments and nongovernmental organizations. In addition, ASPR and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services published results of a research study that followed treatment patterns and outcomes of 13,000 New York City and New Jersey dialysis-dependent patients around the time of Hurricane Sandy. The study identified mitigation measures that both protected patients’ health (e.g., reduced deaths) and minimized stress on the healthcare system before, during, and after the hurricane.
Additional information regarding the Report is available here.