Emergency Preparedness and Response
The Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) program priorities are strongly shaped by current events. The unpredictable nature of emergency response work means the program must remain flexible and be responsive to new focus areas and objectives that emerge from newly issued federal policy, plans, and initiatives; responses to emergencies; national level exercises; and emergency supplemental funding. EPR’s work supports all seven of NIOSH’s strategic goals and is integrated into the NIOSH Strategic Plan in two places. First, the Emergency Preparedness and Response Office (EPRO), which manages much of the work of the program, has a set of service goals that reflect ongoing efforts to enhance worker safety and health during public health emergencies and recovery activities. They include efforts to integrate occupational safety and health into planning and preparedness activities, collaborate with other agencies, and train NIOSH staff to respond to public health emergencies.
EPR seeks to promote and support timely and scalable responder-based disaster research. Therefore, the work intersects with several sector and cross-sector programs within the NIOSH Program Portfolio. This approach provides an added advantage and allows multiple programs to work towards accomplishing the shared research goals in the NIOSH Strategic Plan. EPR, particularly its Disaster Science Responder Research Program, helped develop several research goals to improve safety and health among first responders in the public safety sector, including goals related to reducing cancer and cardiovascular disease, and work-related respiratory diseases, as well as preventing infectious disease transmission and exposure to elicit drugs, and PTSD, suicide, and depression. Since healthcare workers are also frequently at the front lines of emergency response, EPR contributed to goals on preventing pathogen transmission and reducing work-related asthma. Other research goals are around industries that help in recovery efforts, including reducing traumatic injuries and respiratory diseases in the construction sector, and traumatic injuries among transportation, warehousing and utilities workers. Finally, EPR supports a goal on preventing zoonotic disease transmission among agricultural workers.