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A Public Health
perspective on dealing with
EMERGENCIES
The most important keeping the public manufacturers on the
priority in dealing with informed of the potential safety of products;
any emergency is to impact on their own health. environmental monitoring
save and protect life. The to determine the nature
main emergency Part of protecting the degree and extent of the
services or the Blue health of people is contamination; and
Light services as they safeguarding the providing information to the
are known, are usually environment, as human public to alert or reassure
there first, but their health and the environment them on the situation.
response and are inextricably linked. An
effectiveness requires example would be the Public Health Services
the input of other collection of drainage from would not be involved in
agencies to protect the houses, a necessary and rescue activities at the
health and safety of important public health time of the incident,
personnel, contain the action, and the discharge although it is very likely
emergency and limit its of sewage treatment that they will be involved in
escalation or spread. effluent to the sea, a the subsequent aftermath
potential burden on the of the incident when the
At a major incident, the marine eco-system. Blue light personnel have
main role of Public Health stood down. Maintaining
and Health Protection, is in In understanding the normal services at an
bySTEPHEN D. SMITH supporting the Blue Light impact of an emergency appropriate level is a key
Head of Health Protection Services
Services by providing we must also consider aspect of delivering any
advice on protecting the such issues as the emergency service, as is
health of individuals who potential effects on the supporting the local
are dealing with casualties food chain. That includes community to return to
or collateral damage; and whether crops or grazing normal life, and liaising with

ensuring the health and land have been local groups and other
The STAC will be well-being of the local contaminated; initial advice States departments to
expected to provide
community. An important on the nature and scale of promote self help for those
advise on issues
aspect of that work is in the risk; advice to food affected.
such as the impact
on the health of the
population, public
safety, environmental
protection, and
sampling and
monitoring of any
contaminants.

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