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National Health Security: Recognizing & Creating a Health Secure, Resilient Community

Sep 06, 2016

Making sure all members of a community are safe, healthy, and secure both every day and during disasters is simply the right thing to do! September is National Preparedness Month, which highlights why it is so important for friends and neighbors across the country to work together to make their communities more health resilient. In working together, communities can build connectedness and support networks, taking steps to keep their residents healthy every day, which will make the community more health resilient during a disaster.

What does a health resilient community look like?

A health resilient and health secure community has:

Residents that work to make sure everyone's needs are accounted for and met in emergencies with health consequences. To assess the needs of your community members, check out the Communication, Maintaining Health, Independence, Services and Support, Transportation framework (CMIST), which provides a flexible approach to defining at-risk individuals and addressing a broad set of common access and functional needs. Click here for more information.

Neighbors who know one another and actively work to build new relationships and strengthen existing ones, building a social support network for emergencies.Get social and familiarize yourself and others with the Facebook Safety Check, so you can easily connect with friends and loved ones during a disaster. Click here to learn more!

People that volunteer in the community with everyone, especially its most at-risk residents, like seniors, children, homeless, and the disabled. Look into what volunteer opportunities exist for you in your community. Click here to find and volunteer with your local Medical Reserve Corps (MRC). Or click here to find a nearby Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) you can join.

Why is it important?

Emergencies happen every day. From natural disasters, man-made events, and disease outbreaks to everyday power outages, severe storms, and extreme temperatures, emergencies of any scale have the potential to negatively impact your health.

In certain events, emergency and first responders have to focus on those individuals who are most severely impacted. This means that for most people, help during an emergency event is more likely to come from a neighbor or friend like you. This is where you and your community or organization can make all the difference in someone's life.

Want to know more?

To learn more about what a health secure and resilient community looks like, and what you can do to help secure the health of your community, visit PHE.gov/NHSS. Or for more information, email NHSS@HHS.gov.