Over the past several months our Public Health Emergency Preparedness team has been integrating 2 big federal disaster preparedness grants- the Public Health Emergency Preparedness program from the CDC and the Hospital Preparedness Program from HHS. The initiative involves coordinating emergency planning between healthcare facilities, local public health departments, emergency management agencies, tribal partners and a whole slew of other stakeholders across the state.
One innovative project involves a partnership between our preparedness program and the Arizona Statewide Independent Living Council. We used federal hospital preparedness funds to buy durable medical equipment and supplies capable of supporting up to 1,000 people with disabilities in general population shelters. Not only is it important to keep families together during a disaster, it’s a good idea to keep folks who aren’t having a medical emergency out of the healthcare system.
Another key piece that bridges the gap between healthcare system and public health preparedness is the Arizona Emergency System for the Advanced Registration of Volunteer Professionals. Our Volunteer Coordinator, Antonio Hernandez, has been working nonstop (in addition to his wellness ambassador duties) with public health and healthcare system stakeholders to prepare our state for all types of emergencies. Thanks to Antonio for his enthusiasm and dedication.