Materials and Resources
CDC’s Health Studies (HS) has developed the CASPER toolkit pdf icon[PDF – 24 MB] to assist personnel from any local, state, regional, or federal agency in conducting the CASPER. The CASPER toolkit provides guidelines on data collection tool development, methodology, sample selection, training, data collection, analysis, and report writing. A presentation template ppt icon[PPT – 34 MB] (508 Compliant PDF version pdf icon[PDF – 10 MB]) for CASPER training based on the toolkit is also available.
The Tracking Form pdf icon[Print-only PDF – 180 KB] is used to monitor the outcome of every interview attempt and is the basis for calculating the response rates (completion, contact, and cooperation). It should be completed for each household selected, even those that are inaccessible. It is recommended to print the tracking form on bright colored paper to remind interview teams of its importance and encourage completion.
More information on a CASPER tracking form is available in the CASPER toolkit, section 3.5pdf icon.
When interview teams arrive at a household, they should be prepared to give an introduction and obtain consent. The survey participant must give explicit verbal consent to participate in the CASPER interview. It is helpful to have a script written for the interviewers to recite. The following is an example of a consent script:
More information on a CASPER consent script is available in the CASPER toolkit, section 2.6.1pdf icon.
Field interview teams must be prepared to respond if they come across an urgent need that presents an immediate threat to life or health. Typically, teams that encounter a household with urgent needs should encourage or assist the household to call emergency services (911). In the event that calling 911 is not appropriate, the teams should complete a confidential referral form word icon[DOCX – 15 KB]. This form is immediately communicated to the CASPER team coordinator for rapid follow-up.
More information on CASPER confidential referral forms is available in the CASPER toolkit, section 3.7pdf icon.
It is important to remember that CASPER questions are asked at the household level. HS has multiple resources for CASPER questionnaire development including the following:
- Tips for Developing CASPER Questionnaires pdf icon[PDF – 3.4 MB]
- Disaster Epidemiology Community of Practice (DECoP) [Instructions for Joining the DECoP word icon[DOCX – 17 KB}]
Questionnaires from previous CASPERs are available by request, including
- a preparedness template pdf icon[Print-only PDF – 211 KB] that can be used for disaster planning,
- previous CASPER questionnaires, and
- CASPER Epi Info templates.
- Other previous CASPER questionnaire and EpiInfo templates
HS has multiple questionnaires from previous CASPERs available. Please contact Amy Schnall (GHU5@cdc.gov) for available questionnaire and EpiInfo templates. A limited number of questionnaires are available online. You may access them through the NIH Disaster Research Response Project (DR2)external icon search term “CASPER” or by clicking on the links provided from the Interactive Map of CASPERs.
More information on questionnaire development, including general guidance, question categories, and weighing data collection options, is available in the CASPER toolkit, section 2.6.2pdf icon.
The CASPER Interview Tips pdf icon[PDF – 3.35 MB] provides a general guideline for making the interview successful. CASPER interview teams should always have at least two members. The goal is to get a diverse team of two: male/female, local/non-local, experienced/inexperienced, etc. The Texas Department of State Health Services has created a document of CASPER team member testimonials pdf icon[PDF – 32 KB] which includes team member experiences conducting CASPER in the field and a short video developed by Harris County Department of Health on just-in-time training
EpiInfo 7 is the recommended statistical package for entering and analyzing CASPER data. EpiInfo 7 is free, user-friendly, and can be downloaded on any computer (including those with administrative restrictions). There are multiple sources and guidance documents for using EpiInfo including the following:
- Tips for CASPER Questionnaire Development
- Tips for Template use
- EpiInfo 7 User Guidepdf icon (ftp://ftp.cdc.gov/pub/software/epi_info/7/Epi_Info_7_User_Guide-V1.0_cleared.pdf)
- EpiInfo 7 Tutorials
Specific EpiInfo templates for CASPER are available for download on the Disaster Epidemiology Community of Practice (DECoP) SharePoint site (instructions to request access to the DECoP are here word icon[DOCX – 17 KB]) or by contacting the Health Studies. For more information on interview teams and data collection time, please see CASPER toolkit, section 3.2pdf icon.
Prior to conducting a CASPER in the field, it is advisable that you let local leadership and police department(s) know that there will be interview teams in the area. Further, we advise letting the community know that you are conducting a CASPER in their area. This may increase the likelihood that residents are home, open the door, and are willing to participate in the assessment. Discuss with your leadership and communication staff on the best way to reach your target community. Some suggestions include advertising on your health department webpage, providing a press release, or posting on social media. Some examples of press releases include
- Lake County Public Health officials to conduct CASPER survey to assess emergency preparedness pdf icon[PDF – 127 KB]
- Bastrop County Facebook post to announce upcoming CASPERimage icon
Public Health Material
Take the opportunity to distribute public health materials while your interview teams are in the community. This information can range in topic from health education related to the disaster (e.g., carbon monoxide poisoning prevention, proper cleanup methods) to emergency preparedness (e.g., what is in an emergency supply kit, contact information for disaster services) to other health information (e.g., upcoming influenza season information). This public health material should be given out regardless of participation status, and should be given to interested community members who were not selected to be in the CASPER.
HS provides technical assistance remotely and in field (by request and availability). If you would like CDC assistance in conducting a CASPER in your jurisdiction, please visit the CDC Health Studies Disaster Training and Response webpage. When requesting field assistance, please be as detailed as possible by specifying the objective(s) of the CASPER and specific activities requiring CDC assistance.
Please ensure to follow your local IRB guidance for all CASPER-related activities and materials. It is recommended that you have your local IRB review the proposed CASPER activities in advance to determine whether the CASPER would require IRB. Many times, especially during a response, you may complete a determination form to exempt you from the full IRB process. This is because CASPERs tend to be classified as public health non-research or public health practice, and are not considered research.
There are several available CASPER materials and resources created by CDC and our partners.
- CDC Helpful Tips for a Successful CASPER pdf icon[PDF – 3.95 MB]: A quick refresher of key CASPER elements and steps intended to supplement the CASPER toolkit
- CDC One Page Fact sheet on CASPER
- CDC Response to Hurricanes (YouTube video)
- Texas Department of State Health Services CASPER resources
- Pocket Field Guideexternal icon: The purpose of this pocket field guide is to help make CASPER priorities clearer and prompt people to function better as a team in a DSHS CASPER strike team deployment
- CASPER Lessons Learnedexternal icon: This is a document created by the Texas Department of State Health Services outlines over 70 high level lessons in planning and conducting a CASPER from Texas State, Regional, and Local offices experiences.
- Potential CASPER Benefits for Emergency Management Officialsexternal icon: This document created by the Texas Department of State Health Services provides some general benefits of CASPER for disaster response.
- YouTube CASPER videos
- Fort Bend County CASPER: Fort Bend County Department of Health and Human Services used a pre-disaster CASPER to evaluate “How Prepared” jurisdictions are and close any gaps in community preparedness through education and training.
- Hurricane Harvey CASPER Assessment: This series of short videos prepared by Harris County reviews the CASPER conducted in the southeast portion of Harris County Texas after Hurricane Harvey, 2017.
- Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services (HCPHES) Casper Assessment – March 2015: This video prepared by Harris County reviews a preparedness CASPER conducted in Harris County, Texas
- Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services (HCPHES) Casper Assessment – January 2016: This video prepared by Harris County reviews a preparedness CASPER conducted in Pasadena in January 2016
- Public Health Emergency Response at the Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo: The City of El Paso Department of Public Health’s Preparedness Program assisted the Texas Department of State Health Services to conduct a CASPER at the Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo. This video shows how workers representing various agencies worked to collect this important data