Part of the mitigation phase involves identifying community hazards and risks to prevent or reduce the damaging results of a potential disaster before it occurs. Examples could include securing homes/structures against winds, building barriers to control flooding, buying insurance policies etc. This phase also involves determining the awareness of community resources available to care for the different populations/age ranges in the community, as well as awareness of community health personnel.
Part of the preparedness phase involves plans of rescue, evacuation, and caring for victims every step of the way. This phase involves plans for training disaster personnel and gathering community resources and materials needed for managing the disaster. A vital element is creating an emergency response plan for the community and developing a public communication system for such an event. This phase also includes verifying that proper emergency equipment is functional and that shelter, food, water, supplies, and medicine are available. This phase also involves practicing mock disaster drills to ensure the plan works.
The response phase involves putting the developed disaster plan into action and ensuring the safety of the community. Examples may include search and rescue and protecting self and others from imminent or further harm. This phase also includes disaster triage and treating patients. Important to note, this phase will also require one to remain calm and adaptable while providing patients a sense of safety and personal control
Part of the recovery phase includes actions taken to return the community to normal. Short-term recovery includes returning vital life support systems to an operational state and returning patients to their facilities as soon as possible. Long-term recovery includes providing physical and psychological support for victims, families, and responders. The psychological impact of a disaster may be ongoing for both patients and the health care team. Long-term effects may impact people on a physical, emotional, spiritual, or psychological level.
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