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Emergency Preparedness and Response

  • By: Lucinda L. Austin
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Emergencies constitute large-scale, often sudden, and unpredictable events that threaten the disruption of regular community functioning and capabilities. Disruptions in services may include communications systems; utilities such as power, water, and gas; transportation systems; and food resources. Damage may occur to businesses, health care facilities, homes, schools, or other organizations. Additionally, individuals may be in need of medical treatment, evacuation, or rescue. Public health emergencies are defined by their potential health consequences.

Emergency management, as highlighted through the National Incident Management System, has traditionally included four phases: prevention/mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. Prevention/mitigation refers to actions taken to decrease the likelihood that an emergency will occur and actions to reduce resulting risks or damages that would occur from potential emergencies. Preparedness also occurs prior to an ...

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