Global Healthcare

National Preparedness for Catastrophic Events

2 Mins read

Thanks to the Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Catastrophic Events I’ve learned that President Obama signed a new Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) on National Preparedness. The Directive outlines the President’s vision for strengthening the security and resilience of the United States through systematic preparation for threats to the security of the Nation, including acts of terrorism, pandemics, significant accidents, and catastrophic natural disasters. The Directive replaces Homeland Security Presidential Directive 8 (HSPD-8) (2003) and HSPD-8 Annex I (2007). The Directive emphasizes three national preparedness principles:

  • An all-of-Nation approach, aimed at enhancing integration of effort across Federal, State, local, tribal, and territorial governments; closer collaboration with the private and non-profit sectors; and more engagement of individuals, families and communities;
  • A focus on capabilities, defined by specific and measurable objectives, as the cornerstone of preparedness. This will enable more integrated, flexible, and agile “all hazards” efforts tailored to the unique circumstances of any given threat, hazard, or actual event; and
  • A focus on outcomes and rigorous assessment to measure and track progress in building and sustaining capabilities over time. The Directive calls for the development of an overarching National Preparedness Goal that identifies the core capabilities necessary for preparedness, defined as a spectrum of five broad efforts:
  • Prevention – those capabilities necessary to avoid, prevent, or stop a threatened or actual act of terrorism;
  • Protection – those capabilities necessary to secure the homeland against acts of terrorism and manmade or natural disasters;
  • Mitigation – those capabilities necessary to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters;
  • Response – those capabilities necessary to save lives, protect property and the environment, and meet basic human needs after an incident has occurred; and
  • Recovery – those capabilities necessary to assist communities affected by an incident to recover effectively.

The Directive also calls for development of a National Preparedness System to guide activities that will enable the Nation to achieve the goal; a comprehensive campaign to build and sustain national preparedness; and an annual National Preparedness Report to measure progress in meeting the goal. This action recognizes that our national response to a wide range of events, from the 2009-H1N1 pandemic to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, has been strengthened by leveraging the expertise and resources that exist in our communities. All of us can contribute to safeguard our Nation from harm, and we must continue to lean forward together to prepare for all hazards.

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