Disasters and emergencies are important opportunities for nurses to respond to the health needs of the public. Disaster nursing represents a field where all nurses, regardless of their particular specialty, may form new collegial bonds in a practice that serves the entire community. Nurses bring their respective expertise to the disaster where they join a complex network of organizations and contribute to the health and well-being of populations locally, statewide, nationally and globally. Nursing faculty and students, retired, or unemployed nurses can join the team and help with disaster prevention, planning, training, responding and recovery.
Under Emergency Support Function 6 (Mass Care and Human Services), the Department of Public Health collaborates with the Department of Human Services, the lead coordinating state agency, and with the American Red Cross, Georgia Emergency Management Agency and the local County Emergency Management Agencies to ensure that the general shelters are identified, inspected, staffed and managed to meet the needs of the population during times of disaster and emergency.
The Department Public Health (DPH) is the principal state agency responsible for ensuring that the health and medical needs of the population are met during times of disaster, under Emergency Support Function 8 (Health and Medical Services). The nursing resources activated under these mandates may be used to assist any health care entity or community in Georgia that is impacted by a disaster or emergency. Although this mandate does not require Public Health to directly provide health care services, it does involve collaborating and coordinating with multiple agencies and health care entities to make arrangements for individuals to receive the care needed.