Studies by Dincer (2010) show that emergencies related to global warming in New Jersey are caused by changing weather patterns, rising sea levels, higher precipitation events, and extreme weather conditions.
That has made New Jersey vulnerable to rising hurricane intensity and major storms, raising the potential threats of human morbidity and higher mortality rates (Ross, 2011). After the superstorm Sandy occurred on October 29, 2012, officials in New Jersey realized how vulnerable the city was to natural disasters from the effects of global warming (Dincer, 2010; Ross, 2011).
In theory, the disaster management lifecycle consists of disaster prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery components. The appropriate type of public health response elements for New Jersey includes clean water, warmth, clean air, food, and health care services (Ross, 2011). A needs assessment after the disaster showed the needs of the people in New Jersey to include rebuilding healthcare facilities, offering medical support and counseling services to restore and improve the lives of the people (Dincer, 2010).
In practice, New Jersey official has put in place a robust public health response plan and integrated it into the response and recovery operations of the disaster response and recovery agencies of the Government, which are responsible for conducting training and awareness and exercises and drills on disaster response and recovery (Responding to public health emergencies, n.d). The plan is continually modified to address emerging challenges in disaster response and recovery (Responding to public health emergencies, n.d).
A review of the details on New Jersey’s public health website shows that the city’s public health disaster response plan, which accounts for the health, safety, and wellbeing of family members, has one central health coordination, communication, and command center. The center consists of several crisis communication centers with critical infrastructure that enables for quicker disaster response and recovery during a crisis (Responding to public health emergencies, n.d).
The Network-Centric Health Emergency Response (NCHER) links different health emergency preparedness and response personnel, electronic communication, early warning systems, and social networks into a web that allows for real-time sharing of information on disasters (Responding to public health emergencies, n.d).
The critical components of the response plan include regional emergency response assets, situational awareness network software, and command and control networks (Responding to public health emergencies, n.d).
The strengths of the disaster response plan include a well-designed plan that integrates the core principles of disaster preparedness, prevention, and response, which are critical public health tools for responding to public health emergencies (Ross, 2011). According to Ross (2011), the response and preparedness plan was developed according to the disaster response and recovery principles, which include cooperative partnerships.
The plan is consistent with State and regional policies, standards, and operating procedures, which have made New Jersey best prepared to respond to public health needs in the event of a disaster. However, the weakness with the plan is that it lacks a disaster management contingency plan in case a disaster happens that destroys the entire emergency communication response networks such as social networks and the Network-Centric Health Emergency Response (NCHER) command and control infrastructure (Dincer, 2010).
The disaster preparedness and response gaps identified include a lack of clear political coordination of the people and an audit mechanism to determine critical resource requirements during and after a disaster and a contingency communication plan.
Dincer, I. (2010). Global Warming, International Journal of Global Warming, 2 (3), p.21
Responding to public health emergencies (n.d). Web.
Ross, J. I. (2011). From the McDonald Report to the Kelly Committees: The Government Research and Policy Making Process Connected to Oppositional Political Terrorism in Canada, Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, 8 (1), p.2-12.