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Emergency Preparedness - Protocol for Activation of Nursing Resources in Disasters/Emergencies According to Operational Levels

Normal Levels

Normal work operations are maintained.  No additional nursing resources are required.

Alert

Alert status means that a disaster/emergency may have occurred or is imminent.  When an alert is announced, there will be close monitoring of the emergency communication system for further information, updates and changes in the status of the alert and the disaster/emergency.  The DPH Office of Nursing will initiate and maintain phone, e-mail and/or fax communication with the public health districts, the emergency response partners within DPH, Human Services, Department of Community Services, and external partners, including the American Red Cross, regarding any potential or identified need for nursing resources.  If the 2 Peachtree EOC is operational, then all communication regarding nursing issues will be coordinated through the Nursing Duty Officer Station in the EOC.

Based on the circumstances of the emergency, a message may be sent to all public health districts and/or the GNAS informing nurses of the alert status and asking nurses if they are available to assist with an emergency response effort if they are needed.

Activation

County/Local Community Nursing Resources Activated:

Nursing resources within the county and local community are activated first before seeking resources outside the county.   Since all disasters and emergencies occur at the local level, local public health agencies have written emergency plans, which have been developed in collaboration with a wide range of partners and community stakeholders.  Local emergency plans should include a mechanism for the identification of nurses to assist with the disaster/emergency response efforts.  Many disasters and emergencies occur in which the local agency implements the local plan, and may or may not require the assistance of local nurses from within public health or other agencies and providers.  When the nursing resources within the county are adequate to respond to the disaster/emergency, there will be ongoing communication between the DPH and the county/district to monitor the scope of the disaster and to identify the need for any changes in nursing resources.

Federal Assistance Activated:

When the need for nursing resources exceeds the capacity to respond with nurses available within the state of Georgia, a request for assistance from the federal government will be made through the EOC to the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA).

Deactivation

Deactivation means a return to normal operations.  When the order to deactivate is announced, the Office of Nursing or the Nursing Duty Officer in the EOC shall communicate to the nursing resources the need to follow the deactivation procedures that apply to the specific disaster/emergency situation.  The process of making the transition from activation to deactivation may be referred to as a “stand down.”

Approved: Public Health Nurse Leadership on September 4, 2013.