Emergency Preparedness

The primary role of MPH during disasters is to protect the health and wellbeing of those affected.  In natural disasters such as tornadoes, storms, and power outages, protecting the health of affected individuals usually involves: inspecting public shelters to ensure food safety and proper sanitation; advising officials on the need for evacuation and when it is safe to return home; ensuring the safety of the water supply; inspecting restaurants and other facilities to ensure they are safe to reopen; and assessing the impact of the disaster on the environment.  In all of these situations, MPH’s goal is to make sure that the disaster situation is not worsened due to unsafe conditions that cause people to get sick during the recovery phase of the incident.

The emergency response plan is the health department’s basic plan for response to disasters of all types. Please see Emergency Response Plan to access Marion Public Health’s Emergency Response Plan. If you have any comments on the emergency response plan, please email mphadministration@marionpublichealth.org

In public health emergencies, such as communicable disease outbreaks or biological or chemical releases, the health department serves as a leader in the response and has a much larger responsibility throughout the entire response.  For instance, public health may provide medication or vaccination to the populations exposed to pandemic influenza, anthrax release, or other biological releases.  The health department also conducts medical surveillance and lab testing to determine the extent of the outbreak.  In addition, the health department actively seeks to mitigate the effects of the outbreak by educating the public on how to minimize the spread of the disease or protect themselves from exposure.

For more information on public health emergencies, please Click Here

If the health department needs to provide medication or vaccination to the entire population (or to an exposed segment of the population), then they will stand up a mass clinic.  The affected public will be asked to report to the clinic to receive medication in an organized way, such as alphabetically by last name or according to voting district.  Once at the clinic, individuals must complete health history forms, which will be used to determine whether they are eligible for the medications and to track medications dispensed.  You can save yourself time by filling out the form and keeping it with your emergency kit.  Bring the form with you to the clinic to bypass part of the registration process.

These forms are called NAPH (Name, Address, Phone Number and Health History) forms. A one page and three page form is available. The one-page form will be used by healthy individuals.  The three page form should be used by people with medical conditions because it captures more information about the medical condition to help the health department determine whether you are eligible to receive the medication.

NAPH Form (1-page) NAPH Form (3-page)

As with all emergencies, please visit local media outlets for important information regarding public health emergencies.  Specific instructions on where and when to receive medication, exposure prevention strategies, and other important information will be broadcast on local radio stations, published in the local newspaper, and updated on our website.

Family Preparedness

The more prepared you are before a disaster strikes, the more you will be able to combat the effects of that disaster on your family.  Please click here for more information on family disaster planning.

If you or a loved one has special needs, it is vitally important that you plan for how you will respond during a disaster.  Your emergency supplies kit becomes even more important, as it contains medical supplies that may be essential to your survival.  Planning now for how you will evacuate your home and where you will go will make a huge difference when the time comes.  While public shelters will be available during the disaster, they will not have the comforts of home and should be seen as an option of last resort.  Instead, try to identify friends or family members that you could stay with if you are evacuated from your home.  For more information on disaster preparedness for people with special needs, please visit Special Needs Planning.

Saving Minutes

The Saving Minutes database is a registry of Marion County residents who have been identified as having special needs that inhibit their ability to respond to disasters without the assistance of emergency services personnel.  The database will be shared with emergency planners from various disaster response agencies in Marion County to assist them in planning for the evacuation and sheltering of people with medical needs.

The information contained in the registry will be used to determine locations for medical needs shelters, pinpoint people who need special assistance evacuating their homes, and identify people who may need special assistance to hear or understand evacuation orders.  The database will only be activated when a county emergency is declared, an evacuation is ordered, and shelters are opened.  However, local fire departments will be given copies of information received from individuals in their jurisdictions.  They may use this information to assist them during individual calls to your household (for fires or other personal emergencies).
Adults and children living under the following circumstances may be eligible to join SPSN:

  • Vision or hearing impaired
  • Non-ambulatory
  • Require the assistance of home health agency
  • Have medical conditions that require special attention in a  public shelter (must plug in medical equipment, must check insulin levels regularly, require special cot, etc)
  • Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, or cancer patients
  • Psychiatric disorders

The database can include people with both temporary and permanent conditions.  If you are not sure whether you are eligible for inclusion in the database, we encourage you to apply.  Our team will follow up with you to determine whether you qualify for the program.

To apply for the Saving Minutes database, please visit: Saving Minutes

You can also request a paper application by calling Marion Public Health.

A member of the Medical Reserve Corps will review your application for eligibility.  You or your caregiver may be contacted to verify information or to obtain additional information.  Once your application is approved, you will be added to the database. You will be contacted twice a year to ensure you are still eligible for the program. However, you will not need to reapply each year.  You may also remove yourself from the database at anytime.