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The Importance of Disaster Recovery

Introduction

Disasters always cause considerable concern for the population since they are connected with sufferings, losses, and other long-term damaging aftermaths. In this regard, every community should have a coherent disaster recovery plan (DRP) that considers available community resources and identifies issues and vulnerable areas needing careful consideration. Such a plan provides a timely and adequate response to various disasters, irrespective of their scope and type, and mitigates adverse consequences. Thus, this PowerPoint presentation aims at providing a DRP for the Vila Health community, outlining the factors of health and the cultural, social, and economic barriers, and presenting evidence-based strategies to enhance the recovery effort.

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The Determinants and Barriers

The cultural, social, and economic determinants affecting community recovery efforts are directly depending on the demographics of Valley City and the existing resources of Valley City Region Hospital. In particular, the city’s population comprises 8,295 with a median age of 43.6 years and consists of white (93%), Latino (3%), African-American (2%), Native American (1%), and others (1%) (“Background,” n.d.). Undocumented migrant workers with poor English skills also live in Valley. Furthermore, the city contains older residents with complicated health disorders, including 147 physically disabled and those who use American Sign Language to converse (“Background,” n.d.). Finally, there are significant issues with the homeless, the police and fire departments, and the deteriorating financial situation overall.

The Determinants and Barriers

It is worth noting that Valley City Region Hospital (VCRH) is also in deplorable conditions. Specifically, the hospital possesses only 105 beds, two aging VCRH’s ambulances needing an overhaul, and outdated necessary infrastructure and equipment (“Background,” n.d.). Moreover, VCRH experiences financial hardships and considers cutting nursing staff. These overall community features indicate that all city agencies, especially the Fire and Police departments, the hospital, and City Hall, will be disorganized and unprepared to provide an adequate response in case of emergencies. This acute unpreparedness was particularly evident in the terrible derailment of an oil-tanker train that occurred two years ago.

Social Justice

Vulnerable communities are always subjected to different threats, and disparities only exacerbate the severity of adverse situations. In this regard, a DRP should follow the four principles of social justice, including access, equity, participation, and human rights (“Social Justice,” n.d.). Concerning access, the plan should consider that all socio-economic groups have equal access to goods and services, irrespective of their age, ethnicity, and sex. In the second concept, a DRP should ensure a reasonable distribution of available resources among society; namely, the physically disabled or injured come first. Participation implies allowing all people to participate in decision-making affecting their livelihood and safety, averting discrimination. Regarding the final principle, a plan will guarantee the protection of everybody’s civil rights, including rights to life, free speech, to vote, and to a fair trial.

Governmental Policies

Existing health and governmental policies have been primarily designed to address disaster response. For instance, the 2006 Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act requires developing the National Health Security Strategy (NHSS). The central role of NHSS is to alleviate disasters’ health effects by forming resilient communities and reinforcing the healthcare reaction capabilities (“Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act,” n.d.). The first measure in the strategy is an evaluation of the community’s general baseline health, including analyzing disability and chronic disease prevalence, citizens’ access to health services, and the community’s socio-economic conditions.

Besides, the US federal government adopted other critical acts that protect human rights and help be prepared for calamities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), passed in 1990, forbids discrimination against persons with disabilities in all public life fields, such as employment, healthcare, transportation, and education, among others (“What is,” n.d.). The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act) authorizes the provision of federal financial, logistical, technical, and other aid to states and localities during occurred disasters or emergencies (“Robert T. Stafford,” n.d.). Furthermore, it encourages local governments to design thorough disaster preparedness plans for enhanced intergovernmental coordination and delivers assistance programs for losses because of a disaster.

Effective Strategies

In case of disasters, including pandemics, and human-made or natural calamities, the Valley community should adhere to specific steps. First, the mayor should organize a Disaster Management Team (DMT) that includes the various public departments’ representatives, including healthcare, police, fire service, armed forces, municipal services, and others. The convened DMT appoints a disaster coordinator who should coordinate disaster operations, reports to DMT regularly, and direct the team’s strategic decisions. The fire chief puts DMT’s decisions into practice, coordinating the emergency services’ work on saving people and animals. Firefighters extinguish fires and conduct tests to detect the realization of any hazardous substances.

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Ambulance paramedics go to a disaster site, deliver first aid, stabilize the injured, and take them to the hospital. In this regard, Bazyar et al. (2019) offer to use the ESI triage model with one of the highest reliability and validity levels for hospital settings. The model is based on a five-level triage system that includes Resuscitation, Emergent, Urgent, Less Urgent, and Nonurgent. For example, under Resuscitation, life-saving intervention is needed, while Emergent implies a high risk of health deterioration. The police will make sure that the ambulance and the fire department can do their job, guarding the disaster area, whereas armed forces will evacuate people. Municipal services are accountable for the residents’ instant welfare, delivering temporary shelter, food, and psychological care.

The plan also should include a system for quick warning citizens about the disaster and communicating with them and between departments via desktops, mobile devices, social media, and PA systems. Furthermore, Kretzschmar et al. (2020) recommend using contact tracing based on mobile app technology that may optimize contact tracing coverage and reduce delays. For example, such technology can help avert 80 percent of all transmissions during the COVID-19 pandemic (Kretzschmar, 2020). Altogether, this tool notifies individuals of their potential exposure to viruses and provides relevant information, instructions, and referrals to clinical services, testing, and other vital support services. In addition, contact tracing facilitates detecting missing, injured, and those needing help, especially the disabled.

Conclusion

In summary, the PowerPoint presentation has provided a DRP for the Vila Health community, determining the health factors. In particular, the city’s population is diverse, containing minorities, the disabled, and the elderly with chronic diseases. Additionally, Valley City has considerable problems with budget and healthcare, police, fire, and municipal departments. Nevertheless, different federal laws, especially the Stafford Act, can give substantial material support for responding to calamities appropriately. Finally, the presentation has described functions of the community’s responsible parties and evidence-based strategies, such as implementing a system for quick warning citizens about disaster and contact tracing based on mobile app technology.

References

Background. (n.d.). Capella University. Web.

Bazyar, J., Farrokhi, M., & Khankeh, H. (2019). Triage systems in mass casualty incidents and disasters: a review study with a worldwide approach. Open Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences, 7(3), 482-494. Web.

Kretzschmar, M. E., Rozhnova, G., Bootsma, M. C., van Boven, M., van de Wijgert, J. H., & Bonten, M. J. (2020). Impact of delays on effectiveness of contact tracing strategies for COVID-19: A modeling study. The Lancet Public Health, 5(8), e452-e459. Web.

Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act. (n.d.). ASTHO. Web.

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Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. (n.d.). ASTHO. Web.

Social Justice. (n.d.). Corporate Finance Institute. Web.

What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)? (n.d.). ADA National Network. Web.

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