EMERGENCY RESPONSE RESOURCES

workers walking through a wooded area, lightning, 2 men in a row boat on the river

Earthquake Cleanup and Response Resources

An earthquake is a sudden movement of the earth characterized by rapid shaking which is produced as a result of rock movement beneath the earth’s surface. Earthquakes are associated to multiple hazards that represent a risk for emergency responders and recovery workers.  During cleanup activities hazards may include physical, chemical and biological hazards. This topic page offers resources to inform workers on the use of protective equipment, disaster management, potential hazards and additional resources, and provides health and safety recommendations to protect themselves in case of an earthquake.

Management of activities before, during, and after an emergency is a difficult task. Different components must be considered to account for all the potential hazards that can be faced. The preparation of a comprehensive plan is vital to ensure the correct management of resources, the succession of activities, and protection of responders.  During the elaboration of a disaster management plan, potential hazards can be identified which helps to establish the necessary measures to prevent, control, and mitigate those hazards.

Disaster Management

The following link redirects to the disaster site management topic page which includes general information on Disaster Site Management. The site provides a series of reports on emergency responders’ safety management in disaster and terrorism response. The different reports cover topics such as rubble and debris, dust and smoke, heat, anthrax, stress, types and use of protective equipment, hazard assessment, risk communications, site management, structural collapse, fire, and explosions.

The disaster management page also offers information on other hazards such as asbestos, carbon monoxide, confined spaces, chemical and structural hazards and provides guidance on identifying and handling human remains. Other possible hazardous substances and situations such as chemical and structural hazards are also included in the website to ensure the health and safety of workers.
NIOSH Disaster Site Management Information

Emergency preparedness and response general information

This topic webpage contains general information on earthquakes and their associated hazards. The webpage provides guidance for emergency responders on these situations and describes the potential hazards associated with collapsed structures. Some of the recommendations mentioned cover topics such as the establishment of organizational structures to respond, ensuring the appropriate use of personal protective equipment, and guidance to entry in a collapsed structure.
OSHA Emergency Preparedness and Response Earthquake InformationExternal

The National Institute of Environmental health Sciences (NIEHS) provides a list of resources applicable to different disasters. This page provides a list of training resources for workers involved in disaster response and cleanup activities including training tools available for earthquake responders in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole. These training tools cover topics such as the definition of an earthquake, where high risk earthquake zones are located, hazards in the aftermath of an earthquake, associated flash floods, fires and soil liquefaction, preparedness recommendations, incident command system, structure stabilization, and other earthquake related hazards.
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Earthquake InformationExternal

The following link provides basic information on how to be prepared for an earthquake, what to do during an earthquake and how to proceed after an earthquake. The webpage covers preparedness steps, such as emergency supply, and instructions to cover home hazards beforehand. Other information covering other emergency phases during the earthquake and after the earthquake are also covered.  These topics include indoor safety, outdoor safety and specific situations. After the earthquake it is important to have precautions with food for consumption besides other hazards.
CDC Emergency Preparedness and Response Earthquake Information

Health and safety tools and recommendations

This resource consists of a training tool designed to provide awareness on health and safety topics during earthquakes to emergency response and recovery workers and all personnel potentially involved in response and cleanup activities. The training provides basic concepts on earthquakes, hazard management, identification of potential hazards associated to earthquakes, use of heavy equipment, use of personal protective equipment, debris removal, traffic issues, hot work, chainsaw operations, decontamination activities, traumatic stress resources, and general safety tips.

NIEHS Earthquake Response Training Tool: Protecting Yourself While Responding to EarthquakesExternal

The following website provides recommendations for individuals who must have direct contact with human remains. Recommendations include proper hygiene practices and the use of personal protective equipment to prevent contact with body fluids, blood or fecal material resulting of handling human bodies. Additionally to the interim guidance, some additional resources from the pan American health organization and the word health organizations are also mentioned.
CDC Interim Health Recommendations for Workers Who Handle Human Remains

The following page aims to provide information to humanitarian aid workers. The content includes pre-travel care information and packing recommendations. Additionally, it provides information on risks and prevention strategies for relief workers to avoid injury in a disaster area. Recommendations include visiting a healthcare professional before departure and completing a vaccination scheme if needed. Other region specific recommendations are also provided.
CDC Health Recommendations for Relief Workers Responding to Disasters

This CDC topic page offers a list of resources regarding safety concerns that apply to all disasters. The page includes information on animals and insects, food water and safety, carbon monoxide, illness and injury prevention, safe clean up, power outages, coping resources, and protection after a disaster.
CDC Health and Safety Concerns for All Disasters

Earthquakes are associated to multiple hazards that represent a risk for emergency responders and recovery workers. During cleanup activities hazards may include physical, chemical and biological hazards. Challenges faced by responders include how to manage the disaster, how to protect themselves from insects, poisoning, contaminated water and food, injury, animals, how to handle human remains, and which protective equipment is available and should be used, among others. This topic page offers resources to inform workers on disaster management, use of protective equipment, management of traumatic incident stress and provides health and safety recommendations to protect themselves in case of an earthquake.

This CDC topic page offers a list of resources regarding safety concerns that apply to all disasters. The page includes information on animals and insects, food water and safety, carbon monoxide, illness and injury prevention, safe clean up, power outages, coping resources, and protection after a disaster.
CDC Health and Safety Concerns for All Disasters

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is a main source of protection for emergency and recovery workers.  Depending on the type of emergency which may include flooding, hurricanes, fire, electricity, structural collapse, falls, terrorism, earthquakes, tornadoes, extreme temperatures, and diseases. It is necessary to protect emergency response and recovery workers from physical, chemical, and biological hazards. Routes of exposure include inhalation, dermal contact, ingestion, or contact through mucous membranes. Therefore, main protective equipment includes respirators, eye protection, hearing protection and protective clothing. Depending on the hazard, the recommendations on the use of PPE change. Some examples of PPE may include Gas masks, gloves, overalls, boots, and googles.

Personal protective equipment is very important for any emergency responder. The following page provides information concerning the proper use of respirators.  Publications referring to respirator approval for chemical warfare, protective equipment for structural collapse events, and selection of PPE are provided. The NIOSH Personal protective equipment page provides informational materials regarding the proper use of PPE under different conditions and situations. The materials cover previous experiences with respirators and their selection, use of protective clothing to protect against biological agents, PPE for flood responders, infection control, and hearing protection.
NIOSH Emergency Response Personal Protective Equipment Resources

This NIOSH topic page provides information on the correct use of respirators and lists all NIOSH-approved and FDA-cleared surgical N95 respirators. Besides the list of approved filtering facepiece respirators, the website provides information explaining the different types of respirators and provides guidance on how to identify approved models, how to implement the appropriate use of respirators in the workplace and provides access to frequently asked questions and answers.
NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory Respirator Trusted-Sources Information

The following website provides recommendations for individuals who must have direct contact with human remains. Recommendations include proper hygiene practices and the use of personal protective equipment to prevent contact with body fluids, blood or fecal material resulting of handling human bodies. Additionally to the interim guidance, some additional resources from the pan American health organization and the word health organizations are also mentioned.
CDC Interim Health Recommendations for Workers Who Handle Human Remains

The following page aims to provide information to humanitarian aid workers. The content includes pre-travel care information and packing recommendations. Additionally, it provides information on risks and prevention strategies for relief workers to avoid injury in a disaster area. Recommendations include visiting a healthcare professional before departure and completing a vaccination scheme if needed. Other region specific recommendations are also provided.
CDC Health Recommendations for Relief Workers Responding to Disasters

Traumatic Incident Stress Management

The variety of situations that emergency response and recovery workers face may lead to the development of traumatic incident stress. The manifestation of traumatic incident stress involves physical, emotional, behavioral and cognitive stress. Some of these symptoms might be difficult to identify since long hours of work may produce similar symptoms such as fatigue, thirst, and mental confusion. Nevertheless there are specific emotional, physical, cognitive and behavioral symptoms of traumatic incident stress that can facilitate the identification of this condition. These symptoms can include, but are not limited to, confusion, nightmares, disorientation, memory problems, fatigue, headaches, pains, anxiety, guilt, denial, emotional outburst, and behavioral changes. Some workers present strong reactions while performing their activities on site, while others present them later and which can last from some days to weeks.

The following topic page provides NIOSH recommendations for workers to reduce the risk of experiencing stress during and after a traumatic event. The site also describes symptoms to recognize the presence of traumatic incident stress, and offers access to multiple publications associated with the topic such as reports on previous documented cases of traumatic incident stress in the mining industry and firefighting. Other publications offer recommendations for emergency managers on how to make decisions during these events. Additional resources provide access to coping tools and materials.
NIOSH Traumatic Incident Stress Information

Page last reviewed: November 27, 2018