Public Health Emergency - Leading a Nation Prepared
On August 27, 2011, Hurricane Irene made landfall in North Carolina as a category 1 hurricane and caused widespread damage across much of the eastern United States as it moved north-northeastward. The storm brought flooding, widespread power outages and other challenges to many parts of the mid-Atlantic region through New England. Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) funding, training, coalition building and communications assets helped to prepare many healthcare facilities and state emergency response organizations to handle the public health concerns that came with the hurricane. Seven states used HPP resources to augment their ability to launch effective responses. Before the hurricane struck or was even predicted, several states used HPP expertise and funding to design and conduct training exercises, perform gap analyses, put in place operations plans, build coalitions and partnerships, and develop mutual aid agreements and resource inventories. During and after the storm, HPP-funded interoperable backup communications systems proved vital in several states to enable healthcare facilities and emergency managers to get up-to-the-minute information. Hospitals and public health emergency response organizations put the skills they had learned in HPP-funded training into action and used the plans put in place before the storm to help protect health and save lives. HPP also provided equipment and resources that helped states deliver a rapid, effective response.
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