Preparing people with special needs for emergencies: The Alabama Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP) model

William C. Metz, PhD, Edward A. Tanzman, JD, Leslie A. Nieves, MS, Vanda Holt

Abstract


A six-county region in northeastern Alabama put together one of the United States’ most progressive efforts to assist the special-needs population in preparing for and protecting themselves against emergencies. The region is host to a US Army depot that stores and incinerates an aging chemical weapons stockpile, the release of chemical weapons agent from which could pose a threat to the surrounding area. Almost a decade ago, the counties collectively agreed to provide their most vulnerable residents—those with physical, medical, or mental disabilities or those lacking transportation who have no family, neighbors, or friends nearby—with emergency preparedness assistance equal to or greater than that provided to the general population. Due to their immediate proximity to the depot, two counties faced the greatest challenge in providing “maximum protection” to their residents. These counties made substantial adjustments to the protective-equipment distribution process and to the public training process for those residents with special needs. Self-sufficiency is sustained through repeated, empathetic contact between emergency management personnel and the special-needs population with additional specialized resources deployed on a proactive basis throughout the region.

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5055/jem.2005.0039

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