NASHVILLE – Staff from the Metro Public Health Department and Tennessee Department of Health will use a tool designed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct a community assessment on public health emergency response (CASPER) in 30 randomly selected neighborhood locations in Davidson County. The door-to-door assessment will take place Thursday, November 3, from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Friday, November 4, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Assessment organizers will use Saturday as a backup day if the assessment is not completed by Friday afternoon.
Those conducting the survey will depart from the Lentz Health Center to begin the assessment. Each will be wearing a t-shirt with “CASPER” displayed on the front and a photo identification card.
Participants will be asked to answer a list of 22 questions. Two sample questions include:
• What is your primary way of getting information during a disaster or emergency?
• What special assistance might you need from emergency responders during an emergency?
The assessment seeks to identify unmet and existing community needs, assess community disaster planning and the vulnerable population needs pertaining to disasters, and exercise the ability to conduct a public health assessment both efficiently and effectively. Survey results will also be used to develop an educational outreach tool that could be used statewide in the future.
According to the CDC, following any type of disaster, public health and emergency management professionals must be prepared to respond to assess and meet the needs of the affected public. The Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER) will assist public health practitioners and emergency management officials in determining the health status and basic needs of the affected community. Gathering information about health and basic needs this way allows public health and emergency managers to prioritize their responses and to rationalize the distribution of resources.
Andrea Ewin Turner