Editor's Note: NEHA strives to provide up-to-date and relevant information on environmental health and to build partnerships in the profession. In pursuit of these goals, we feature this column on environmental health services from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in every issue of the Journal.
In these columns, authors from CDC's Water, Food, and Environmental Health Services Branch, as well as guest authors, will share insights and information about environmental health programs, trends, issues, and resources. The conclusions in these columns are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position of CDC.
Kerton Victory is an environmental health specialist and emergency coordinator with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's (NIOSH) Emergency Preparedness and Response Office (EPRO). Jill Shugart is a senior environmental health specialist and the Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance coordinator with NIOSH EPRO. Sherry Burrer is a senior epidemiologist and emergency coordinator with NIOSH EPRO. Chad Dowell is the NIOSH deputy associate director for emergency preparedness and response. Lisa Delaney is the NIOSH associate director for emergency preparedness and response.
Emergency response and recovery workers might be exposed to multiple hazardous conditions and stressful work environments when responding to a public health emergency. Previous emergency events have demonstrated that significant gaps and deficiencies in responder health and safety continue to exist (Michaels & Howard 2012, Newman, 2012). Ensuring the health and safety of emergency response and recovery workers who might be exposed to hazardous conditions and stressful work environments when responding to a public health emergency should remain a top priority (Kitt et al., 2011). The National Response Framework contains a Worker Safety and Health Annex detailing responsibilities for safety and health during major emergencies, including roles for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) such as exposure assessment and personal protective equipment determination.
The NIOSH Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) Program was created in 2002 following the events of 9/11, which included attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and the anthrax letter terrorist attacks. The goal of the NIOSH EPR Program is to coordinate emergency preparedness and...