Statement adopted January 29, 2020
Local health departments bear a significant responsibility for ensuring their communities have the capabilities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from public health emergencies and threats including those from infectious disease outbreaks, natural disasters, or human-caused incidents (e.g., cyber-attacks, chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive events), whether accidental or intentional. This all-hazards approach requires a continuous cycle of planning, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, evaluating, and taking corrective action in an effort to ensure effective coordination during incident response.
Local health departments, through collaboration and community involvement, help ensure a strong foundation for public health preparedness and response. The Black Hawk County Board of Health is committed to prioritizing preparedness and advocates for time and resources to fulfill the public health emergency preparedness (PHEP) capabilities summarized below.
Community Resilience: engaging in preparedness activities that address the access and functional needs of the community as well as cultural and socioeconomic factors; also, promoting preparedness and optimal health for all community members.
Incident Management: coordinating a cross-sector effective response using the National Response Framework, which includes the National Incident Management System (NIMS), and serve as the lead agency in the county for Emergency Support Function #8, Public Health and Medical Response.
Information Management: making sure community partners and the public have the right information at the right time to take action to include sustaining systems to gain situational awareness from national, regional, and local partners.
Countermeasures and Mitigation: getting medicines and supplies where they are needed to responders and the public by having agreements and plans in place along with training and exercises to receive and dispense countermeasures.
Surge Management: expanding medical services to handle large events to include fatality management, mass care, reunification, and volunteer management.
Biosurveillance: building epidemiological capacity to monitor and assess disease patterns and other health-related determinants and conditions prior to, during, and after an emergency.