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Week 4 – Discussion 1


Public Health Disasters & Preparedness

Read through the emergency disasters below. Select one of these scenarios and then complete the following steps:

Imagine you are the director of FEMA using NIMS when this disaster occurs.

  • Develop a PSA (using either Screencast or video) that informs the population of what will be done to resolve the issue. Address these elements in your video:
    • Describe the nature of the situation.
    • Explain what FEMA and others are doing to mitigate the situation.
    • Explain what people need to do to stay safe and/or to get help in order to reduce panic.
  • Your vocal tone should be one that is meant to reduce panic and provide a solid explanation of the above elements.
  • Copy and paste the URL to your video or screencast within your discussion forum response. If you are unable to create a YouTube video for this discussion, you may use a screencast program. However, you do not need to develop a PowerPoint presentation. This discussion is meant to assess your communication abilities, therefore, the audio portion of the video and/or screencast is essential. If you elect to use the screencast option, you may simply use a picture of yourself reporting the above information in lieu of a PowerPoint.

Questions to think about while formulating your response to the public:

  • What are the issues you will address first?
  • Which organization is responsible for what? Where will you allocate your resources?
  • What public health concerns are the results of each of these events?
  • Which populations might be most at risk?
  • What are some of the long-term health effects of these events?
  • What other health concerns may arise from these events?
  • What will you say to the people, who are desperately awaiting your direction?

Scenario #3: “Tornado scenario” The Scenario:

It is calm day in the city of Moore, Oklahoma, a suburb of Oklahoma City, OK.

It is October 4th, 1998 and people are going about their everyday lives. At approximately, 8:37 PM CDT a tornado develops about a half mile north of 19th Avenue. The tornado is two miles wide and tears through the center of the city. The damage is tremendous, as tracts of homes are destroyed and cars are piled atop of one another. The tornado is powerful EF4 on the enhanced Fujita Scale with wind speeds of 200 miles per hour. This tornado is a part of series of tornados that have developed over the past two days, devastating other cities in the area. Hundreds are injured and unfortunately there are 70 deaths that have been confirmed. There are reports of families being trapped under debris in the northern parts of the city. Two schools have been leveled along with one of the main medical facilities. City resources are overwhelmed and the U.S. president has declared this area a major disaster area, allowing federal aid to support local and state efforts.

Moore is a city of only 56, 315 people. The city has continually grown over the past decade. Moore has three high schools and a local community college that serve as there major educational centers. The nearest big city is Oklahoma City which has a population of over 200,000. There are three medical facilities that provide medical care for the general population. The Community Hospital offers acute care and other emergency services while Oklahoma Heart Hospital and Oklahoma Center offer similar services. Moore has three fire stations located in various parts of the city (North, East, and West). Interstate 35 is the only major highway that travels through the city. Weather in the area ranges from the low 70’s and mid 90’s during the summer to about The low 50’s and low 30’s in the winter. This particular area of the country is known for tornados and Moore has had a history of damaging tornados.

Your Review: What do you tell your public? Factor out the issues and follow protocol to formulate your response to the discussion question and public service announcement.

Source for background information: Mannette, A., (2013). Oklahoma Tornado 2013Devastates Moore, Kills Dozens. Retrieved from

Week 4 – Discussion 2


Allocating Public Health Resources

Imagine that you are standing on the bank of a river and injured people start floating down the river towards you. There is no end to the floating people…they just keep coming and coming. You are alone and you do not have cell service to phone for back up. What do you do? In your discussion post, discuss what type of assistance you would want to provide. Explain where you think it would be best to focus your energy assisting (ie. should you stay where you are and pull people out of the river, or should you go upstream to find out why injured people are ending up in the river?) Determine what proportion of assistance should go to aiding injured people versus preventing the cause of the injuries in the first place. Justify your reasoning for why you would allocate your resources that way. (There is no right or wrong answer to this; it is a matter of determining the priorities between treatment vs. prevention.)

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