Environmental Health Training in Emergency Response (EHTER) – Awareness Level

 

Course Description

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Environmental Health Training in Emergency Response (EHTER) Awareness Level course is an  introductory level course that provides an overview of environmental health topics, issues, and challenges faced before, during, and after emergency response.  The purpose of the course is to increase the level of emergency preparedness among environmental health professionals and other response personnel by providing them with the necessary knowledge, skills, and resources to address the environmental health impacts of emergencies and disasters. 

 The EHTER Awareness Level course includes 10 primary modules:

·        Disaster Management:  Provides an overview of plans, guidelines, procedures, and systems that guide the role of environmental health during the four phases of the emergency management cycle; identifies emergency preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation resources for environmental health; and describes the parameters under which environmental health will function during an emergency or disaster.

·        Responder Safety and Health:  Provides an overview of possible safety and health hazards and risks faced during emergency response and recovery, and discusses protective actions can be taken to help minimize these hazards and risks.

·        Drinking Water:  Provides information on issues related to drinking water contamination, disinfection techniques, and methods to provide safe drinking water after an emergency or disaster.  Also reviews basic components of private and public drinking water systems. 

·        Food Safety:  Provides an overview of food safety considerations in a number of settings and environments (e.g., mass feeding operations, re-opening retail establishments, unpermitted operations) during emergency response and recovery.  Also discusses actions that environmental health professionals can take to promote food defense. 

·        Wastewater:  Provides information on wastewater issues, assessment of wastewater systems, and methods and techniques for wastewater management, treatment, and disposal after an emergency or disaster.  Also reviews basic components of private and public wastewater systems. 

·        Building Assessment:  Discusses potential roles of environmental health in the building assessment process before, during, and after an emergency or disaster, and provides a brief overview of building components and how they can be impacted by certain types of incidents.    

·        Vectors and Pests:  Discusses methods and techniques for controlling and managing vectors (e.g., insects) and pests (e.g., rodents) before, during, and after and emergency or disaster.  The importance of Integrated Pest Management is stressed.  Also reviews salient characteristics and physical properties of target vectors and pests.   

·        Solid Waste and Debris:  Discusses potential roles of environmental health in addressing issues associated with solid waste and debris, including hazardous household waste, before, during and after an emergency or disaster; provides an overview of solid waste and debris management planning, collection, and disposal; and reviews different types and categories of solid waste and debris generated by emergencies and disasters.

·        Shelters:  Provides an overview of environmental health issues and concerns related to emergency evacuation shelters, and discusses shelter types, operations, how to conduct an environmental health shelter assessment, and communicating important environmental health information to shelter staff, volunteers, and occupants.      

·        Radiation and Environmental Health Response:  Discusses the role of environmental health in responding to and recovering from a radiation incident; introduces basic radiation concepts; and provides examples and case studies of radiation emergencies.       

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the EHTER Awareness Level course, students will be able to

·        Describe the roles of environmental health in emergency preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation.

·        Describe the roles and capacities of emergency partners in preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation.

·        Recognize adverse environmental health impacts caused by different types of emergencies and disasters.

·        Describe environmental health actions to protect the safety and health of responders and the public before, during, and after an emergency or disaster.

·        Utilize tools and resources for emergency preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation acquired during the course.

·        Refresh and/or improve their ability to use certain types of environmental health equipment for emergency response and recovery.

·        Experience and share best practices and lessons learned with other students in the course.

Scope

The EHTER Awareness Level course is applicable to the needs and interests of federal, state, local, and tribal public health and environmental health professionals who may have roles and responsibilities in preparing for, responding to, recovering from, and/or mitigating emergencies or disasters.  It is consistent with the doctrine, concepts, principles, terminology, and organizational processes in Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) - 8: National Preparedness, the National Response Framework (NRF), National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF), National Incident Management System (NIMS) and other U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) guidance, recommendations, and resources.  It is also consistent with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and CDC guidance, recommendations, and resources.

Target Audience

The target audience for the EHTER Awareness Level course includes sanitarians, environmental health specialists, and other federal, state, local, and tribal public health and environmental health professionals who may have roles and responsibilities in preparing for, responding to, recovering from, and/or mitigating emergencies or disasters.  These professionals may reside within a variety of agencies, programs, organizations, and institutions.

What the Course is NOT

The EHTER Awareness Level course is NOT intended to

·        Serve as an intermediate (operational) or advanced (planning and management) level training in environmental health emergency preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation.

·        Produce subject-matter-experts in the areas of environmental health emergency preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation.

·        Substitute or replace community and/or jurisdictional environmental health emergency planning, training, educational, or exercise activities and requirements.

·        Substitute or replace existing emergency operations plans, procedures, guidelines, resources, assets, and incident management systems.