Vermont is prepared for public health emergencies and 1 more...less...

Vermont is prepared to communicate about health in emergencies

Proportion of crisis and emergency risk messages intended to protect the public’s health that demonstrate the use of best practices

75%2016

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Story Behind the Curve

The structure and tone of risk communication messages can be just as important as the speed with which they are delivered. These messages differ from day-today health communication, and must be tailored to the event, using proven crisis and emergency risk communication principles.

Elements of crisis and emergency risk communication that should be included in nearly every message:

  • What is known about the threat to human health
  • What is NOT known about the threat to human health
  • Why a crisis or emergency event happened
  • Actions people can take to reduce their personal health threat
  • Expression of empathy about the threat to personal health
  • Expression of commitment from the responsible or responding entity

In addition to speed, the quality of emergency messages produced during the 2016 statewide Vigilant Guard exercise will be evaluated. After-action reviews of public health events and emergencies will also evaluate the quality of public information messages issued, and embedded in print and broadcast news stories.

Partners

Vermont Department of Health

Vermont Department of Emergency Management & Homeland Security

Other state and local officials

News agencies and reporters

What Works

The Health Department has made use of the evidence-based Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication principles since they were first formulated in 2002, and as they have evolved since. Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication is an approach to communicating effectively during emergencies. These principles are used by public health professionals and public information officers to provide information that helps individuals, stakeholders and entire communities make the best possible decisions for themselves and their loved ones. CERC recognizes that during emergencies, we work under impossible time constraints and must accept the imperfect nature of our choices. CERC draws from lessons learned during public health emergencies and research in the fields of public health and emergency risk communication. The CERC program consists of 1) training, 2) resources, and 3) shared learning. CERC training and resources are now available at www.emergency.cdc.gov/cerc/

Strategy

Follow the Health Department's Crisis & Emergency Risk Communication (CERC) plan, which includes templates for message development, news releases and social media messages. Train and exercise Health Department staff who make up the CERC team in an emergency event.

Why Is This Important?

Communication is an essential part of response to any public health event or emergency. Individuals, families and communities need timely, clear and credible information to take action to protect themselves and others from harm.

This indicator is part of Healthy Vermonters 2020 (the State Health Assessment) that documents the health status of Vermonters at the start of the decade and the population health indicators and goals that will guide the work of public health through 2020. Click here for more information.

Notes on Methodology

National measure and methodology – The original Healthy People 2020 objective – to increase the proportion of crisis and emergency risk messages intended to protect the public's health that demonstrate the use of best practices – has since been revised and segmented into six objectives, reflecting each of the six CERC elements.

Vermont methodology – Percentage of messages issued by the Health Department that included at least five of the six CERC elements.

After-action evaluation of each emergency or event will attempt to apply the national methodology: The number of crisis and emergency risk messages embedded in print and broadcast news stories that include each of the six CERC elements, divided by the number of crisis and emergency risk messages embedded in print and broadcast news stories about events that affect the public's health.

Scorecard Result Container Indicator Measure Action Actual Value Target Value Tag S R I P PM A m/d/yy m/d/yyyy