From the recent Climate Gap Webinar, it seems to me that there may be multiple benefits from engaging our partners who work in public health emergency preparedness planning and response. Planning for emergencies has recently broadened from "terrorism" to an "all-hazards" approach. This new approach is ideally based upon a public health hazard vulnerability assessment (PH-HVA) which asks local health officials to identify and prioritize the hazards and threats that face their communities. When we did this in Oregon, our local partners identified a wide range of issues, but among the highest ranked concerns had to do with weather (and potentially climate) related disasters and threats. In our state, these range from severe storms, flooding, wild fires, heat waves, drought to pandemic disease and conditions such as West Nile Virus. In other states, hurricanes, tornados and other weather/climate issues will be top on the list.
I believe that this is an opportunity to build relationships with those who are planning to respond to, prevent or mitigate and recovery from these disasters that face our communities. In addition to bringing expertise in the area of prevention, planning, mitigation and recovery, they also have funding to develop plans, exercise the plans, mobilize communities and build linkages with other agencies and resources on the local, state and national levels.