Champaign County emergency and health district officials are conducting an emergency preparedness pre-assessment in the county.
The Champaign Health District, Champaign County Emergency Management Agency and Mercy Memorial Hospital are taking part in a CASPER survey to see how prepared residents are for potential disasters, according to a health district press release.
CASPER stands for Community Assessment for Public Emergency Response. It is often given a few days after a real event, such as a tornado, Champaign Health District Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Jeanne Bowman said. Lucas County conducted a CASPER survey following detection of microcystin toxin in Toledo’s municipal water supply in 2014.
“It’s something that we’re doing voluntarily,” Bowman said. “Our goal is to see how prepared residents would be in a real event.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed CASPER to allow governments at all levels to rapidly assess a community’s health needs after a disaster, as well as to measure household preparedness for emergencies.
The survey “is a rare opportunity for local agencies to coordinate at the field level,” she said.
The survey will be June 23-27. It involves choosing 30 “census tracts” within the county that are focused more toward populated areas, health district Epidemiologist Gabe Jones said. Seven houses in each tract are selected at random. Fifteen two-member survey teams will “visit neighborhoods, going door to door, looking to locate the seven households in each census block,” he said.
Participating agency staff and volunteers will walk through county neighborhoods and knock on doors starting Thursday, June 23. They will be wearing identification cards.
Survey questions will be about disaster preparedness and health needs. The survey teams will also ask residents how best to communicate with others during a disaster, if they have hearing or vision impairment issues, how they have planned for their health care needs, identify their particular disaster-related concerns and barriers in their own disaster planning, and whether they will evacuate or not during a disaster and why.
Champaign County partners helping with data collection include Mercy Memorial Hospital, Medical Reserve Corp (MRC), Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), local agencies and county officials.
Participation in the survey is confidential and voluntary, Bowman said.
Survey results should be compiled in an initial review by July 1, Jones said.
Those interested in helping with the survey should call the health district at 937-484-1675. For more information, call the health district at 937-484-1675 or the Champaign County Emergency Management Agency at 937-484-1642.