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EMERGENCY RESPONDER HEALTH MONITORING AND SURVEILLANCE (ERHMS)

National Response Team Technical Assistance Document

Pre-deployment Phase

Rostering and Credentialing of Emergency Response and Recovery Workers

A basic tenet of safety and health in emergency response is to maintain accountability for all emergency responders. The registration and credentialing system for emergency response and recovery workers should be designed to support four interdependent, interoperable functions:

  1. Registration (recording basic and credential information on the worker)
  2. Emergency credentialing (assigning a credential level based on responder certifications and education)
  3. Re-verification (periodically confirming responder information)
  4. Emergency badging (assigning an identification badge in accordance with the credential level).

Since the information requirements of each function are interdependent, these four functions should be integrated within a single database.

Pre-deployment Health Screening for Emergency Responders

Within the framework of an ERHMS program, pre-deployment health screening is intended to establish a baseline physical and emotional health status. Such information may be obtained from an entrance physical examination to determine fitness for duty, or from subsequent fitness-for-duty examinations. This baseline information allows for more informed interpretation of possible post-deployment adverse effects and is particularly valuable when exposure information is difficult to obtain or interpret, or is absent. Baseline health assessment should address the responder's physical health, emotional health, and immunization status. In addition to providing baseline health information, the pre-deployment screening can serve as an opportunity to assess whether the response has persons with the appropriate education, training, and experience to perform in the assigned response capacities.

Health and Safety Training

Training is critical for the preparedness of the responder. The responder is required to be fully prepared to perform duty-specific tasks, which may have federal, state, or locally mandated training requirements.The ability of the responder to recognize and avoid possible health and safety incidents will affect the responder's performance, survivability, and resilience during and after the disaster response. Regardless of the training a responder has received prior to a disaster, there will be a need for additional training focused on site-specific hazards, operating procedures, and available resources. This training is sometimes referred to as "orientation," "just-in-time ," and "toolbox or tailgate talks" during the disaster but will be referred to as "site-specific training" in this document.

Ongoing analysis of ERHMS data during the response might identify training needs and changes in procedures that could reduce injuries, illnesses, and near misses. Additionally, the ERHMS program could provide valuable post-disaster data to evaluate the impact of responder training, including site-specific training on overall injury and illness rates for responders and specific illnesses and injuries.

Data Management and Information Security

Tools and Resources

Tools and Resources for use during the Pre-deployment Phase:

Main Page Next Page: Deployment

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  • Page last reviewed: July 31, 2012
  • Page last updated: October 15, 2013
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