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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Situation Report: Hurricane Earl

Hurricane Earl Situation Updates

September 4, 2010

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services divisions have returned to steady-state watch operations.

Personnel who had been pre-positioned in the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and Caribbean in anticipation of the need for federal support are returning to home duty stations, and the National Disaster Medical System and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps are returning to on-call status.

Caches of medical equipment and supplies pre-positioned in the northeast are returning to the regional warehouse for future use in disaster response. The caches of medical equipment and supplies pre-positioned in the Caribbean will remain in place for the duration of the hurricane season as a proactive preparedness measure.

The states of Maine, New Jersey and North Carolina have taken advantage of Public Service Announcements made available through the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. These PSAs cover health precautions residents can take to protect their health after severe storms, such as drowning prevention and food/water safety during power outages, and injury prevention while removing yard debris.

Information on how to protect personal health in preparation for and after a hurricane is available on demand (embed link to CDC site). The Food and Drug Administration also offers health and safety information for consumers  and has a new publication, "Hurricanes: Health and Safety" to assist in preparing for hurricanes".

In anticipation of Hurricane Earl, the HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response deployed 26 personnel to Regional Response Coordination Centers in New York, Massachusetts and Georgia to assist the regions in preparing for and potentially responding to the storm. ASPR also deployed an Incident Response Coordination Team in the northeast region at the region’s request to support potential response operations should health and medical support have been needed after the storm.

Caches of medical equipment and supplies were pre-positioned in the northeast region and the Caribbean should these resources have been needed in a post-storm medical response. In addition, more than a dozen mobile medical packs of medical equipment and supplies were prepared for deployment to states along the East Coast. These kits would have enabled responders to provide basic care if deployed to a remote area.

ASPR had placed seven 35-member National Disaster Medical Teams on alert to assist if needed to support health and medical efforts and additional personnel were rostered and prepared to deploy as Incident Response Coordination Teams in other states if needed.

The Assistant Secretary for Health activated the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps to support response operations related to Hurricane Earl, placing hundreds of personnel on alert to deploy if needed.
 
HHS divisions, including the Food and Drug Administration, the Administration on Aging, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Health Resources Services Administration which funds community health centers, coordinated with state counterparts in the targeted states to ensure these states had the assistance needed in preparing for and responding to Hurricane Earl.

September 3, 2010

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services continues to work with federal and state partners in preparing for and responding to Hurricane Earl as the storm skirts the East Coast.

The HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) regional emergency coordinators in the northeast continue to work with states and other federal agencies on the health and medical aspects of preparedness and an ASPR Incident Response Coordination team is pre-positioned in the northeast to coordinate health and medical support for the potential response operations there.

ASPR also pre-positioned caches of medical equipment and supplies in the northeast should Hurricane Earl require a health and medical response.

The National Disaster Medical System and U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps remain activated. Seven 35-member National Disaster Medical Teams and hundreds of U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officers are on alert to assist if they are needed to support health and medical efforts in impacted areas of New England.

The HHS Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information on how to protect personal health during hurricane, including drowning prevention and food/water safety during power outages, available for individuals, families and businesses. The Food and Drug Administration also has health and safety information for consumers, "Floods, Hurricanes and Power Outages" and a new publication, "Hurricanes: Health and Safety" to assist in preparing for hurricanes. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides information on disasters, mental and behavioral health.
 
HHS divisions, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Administration on Aging, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Health Resources Services Administration which funds community health centers, are coordinating with state counterparts in the targeted states to ensure these states have the assistance needed in preparing for and responding to Hurricane Earl.

September 2, 2010

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is leaning forward in anticipation of impacts to the United States from Hurricane Earl, positioning HHS assets to support public health and medical facilities as needed, maintaining situational awareness, and is prepared to conduct post-storm assessments of damage to the public health and medical infrastructure.

The HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response deployed personnel to Regional Response Coordination Centers in New York, Massachusetts and Georgia to assist the regions in preparing for and responding to the storm. ASPR also deployed an Incident Response Coordination Team in the northeast region at the region’s request.

Caches of medical equipment and supplies are being pre-positioned in the northeast region should they be needed after the storm. In addition, more than a dozen mobile medical packs of medical equipment and supplies are prepared for deployment to impacted states along the East Coast. These kits enable responders to provide basic care when deployed to a remote area.

ASPR placed seven 35-member National Disaster Medical Teams on alert to assist if needed to support health and medical efforts. In addition to the Incident Response Coordination Team pre-positioned in the northeast region, personnel are rostered and prepared to deploy as Incident Response Coordination Teams in other states if needed.

The Assistant Secretary for Health has activated the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps to support response operations related to Hurricane Earl with more than 1,000 personnel on alert to deploy if needed.

The HHS Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is providing information on how to protect personal health during hurricane (embed link to CDC site), including drowning prevention, food/water safety during power outages, and evacuation safety, available online for individuals, families and businesses. The Food and Drug Administration also has health and safety information for consumers and a new publication, "Hurricanes: Health and Safety" to assist in preparing for hurricanes.
 
HHS divisions, including the Food and Drug Administration, the Administration on Aging, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Health Resources Services Administration which funds community health centers, are coordinating with state counterparts in the targeted states to ensure these states have the assistance needed in preparing for and responding to Hurricane Earl.
(HHS) 

September 1, 2010

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has increased the level of readiness, leaning forward in anticipation of impacts to the United States from Hurricane Earl, posturing HHS assets to support public health and medical facilities as needed, executing pre-landfall Hurricane Playbook action steps, maintaining situational awareness, and is prepared to conduct post-storm assessments of damage to the public health and medical infrastructure.

Emergency Support Function 8 (ESF-8) has been activated in Region 2 and will soon be activated in Regions 1 and 4. The National Disaster Medical System is activated. HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) personnel deployed to the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are assisting the territories in after-action planning.

HHS ASPR also deployed personnel to the Region 2 Regional Coordination Center in New York, the Region I Regional Coordination Center in Massachusetts and the Region 4 Regional Coordination Center in Georgia to assist the regions in preparing for and responding to the storm. ASPR is responding to a regional request to pre-position an Incident Response Coordination Team in Massachusetts.

The caches of medical equipment and supplies which ASPR pre-staged in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands will remain in the territories to be used as needed in subsequent storms this hurricane season. More than a dozen “fly-away” kits of additional medical equipment and supplies are prepared for deployment to impacted states along the East Coast. These kits enable responders to provide basic care when deployed to a remote area.

ASPR also placed seven 35-member National Disaster Medical Teams on alert to assist if they are needed by the states along the East Coast to support health and medical efforts. In addition to the Incident Response Coordination Team being pre-positioned in the northeast region, personnel are rostered and prepared to deploy as Incident Response Coordination Teams in other states if needed.

The Assistant Secretary for Health has activated the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps to support response operations related to Hurricane Earl. The Office of Force Readiness Deployment placed the following September on-call assets on alert status: RIST Region 2, the National Incident Support Team (NIST) 2, the Services Access Team (SAT) 2, Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) 2, and the 950-person Tier III Roster B. In addition, the following August on-call assets are maintaining a supportive posture: NIST) 1, SAT 1, RDF 1, and the 930 person Tier III Roster A on alert status.

The interagency coordination website (www.phe.gov) is being continually updated as new information from ESF-8 federal and state partners becomes available.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finalized a Hurricane Earl staffing plan with subject matter experts rostered and prepared to deploy if needed. In addition, CDC activated a joint information center (JIC) and has posted a hurricane highlight on the CDC website  to draw visitors to hurricane information.

The CDC JIC compiled a pre-landfall package of Hurricane materials, including drowning prevention, food/water safety during power outages, and evacuation safety, and distributed the materials to the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and to states from South Carolina to Maine. The JIC is checking with state and local public information officers in the areas of the storm path to determine if additional pre-landfall information and PSAs are needed. Already New Jersey is taking advantage of the PSAs. The JIC has also prepared “ever green” information on health protection recommendations for use post-landfall.

The JIC provided information on Dengue fever prevention to the HHS Secretary’s Operations Center to protect HHS personnel deployed to Puerto Rico where there is a current outbreak of Dengue. Additional information is available for clinicians as they consider illnesses of patients returning from affected areas.

The Administration on Aging continues to reach out to potentially impacted states to ensure they have the assistance needed in anticipation of the Hurricane Earl making landfall. In response to the Ocracoke Island, NC, mandatory evacuation, the state’s Area Agencies on Aging along the areas have issues a supply of shelf stable meals, taken steps to assure seniors have a sufficient supply of prescription drugs and contacted older persons with care giving concerns or issues.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration offices are on alert across the regions. Personnel in FDA’s offices in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico have been accounted for. FDA updated its website to highlight the health and safety hurricane-related information on the top of FDA's Food Home Page. Some of the advice consumers will be able to link to on this page include: "Prepare for Hurricane Season: Advice From FDA" and "Hurricanes: Health and Safety" .

The HRSA Office of Emergency Preparedness and Continuity of Operations (EPCO) is monitoring the progress of Hurricane Earl and other tropical systems in the Atlantic. Surveys of HRSA grantees in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico indicated no major impact on the facilities they help fund. The HRSA EOC identified grantees in areas of potential risk along the eastern seaboard and is providing grantees with hurricane preparedness and response materials. HRSA is prepared to conduct impact assessments as the path of the storm becomes more certain. The HRSA EOC has stayed in close contact with the Secretary’s Operations Center and participated in coordination calls with ESF-8 interagency public health and medical partners.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is currently monitoring the situation and will have hurricane related-disaster materials, including tip sheets, available as needed. (HHS)

  • This page last reviewed: September 29, 2010