Equity in Emergency Preparedness

San Juan Basin Public Health is home to the Equity in Emergency Preparedness (EEP) program. The EEP program works to address disparities in emergency planning, response, and recovery faced by populations in Archuleta and La Plata counties during public health emergencies.

EEP ensures every individual is included when preparing for, responding to, and recovering from an emergency. EEP works with community partners: Southwest Center for Independence, Community Connections Inc., Compañeros, Manna Soup Kitchen, and the Durango School District 9R Nurses. The EEP program understands the needs of every individual are different; we plan with communities, not for them.

Funding for this program was provided (in part) by Amendment 35 Health Disparities Grant Program funding. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the official policies of, nor does the mention of imply endorsement by, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

CONTACT

Health Equity Coordinator | 970.335.2068

Local Emergency Preparedness and Response Coordinator | 970.335.2069

EEP understands that everyone has different needs, especially during an emergency. For this reason, the EEP team is committed to using more inclusive language surrounding our whole community.

Rather than labeling individuals as having “special needs” or “vulnerable populations” the EEP program refers individuals with C-MIST needs. C-MIST is an inclusive acronym that stands for:

  • Communication: Will officials speak the same language as me and will my language be understood?
  • Medical: Will I have access to my prescriptions or other medical necessities?
  • Independence: Will I be able to do everything as I normally do on my own?
  • Transportation: Will I be able to get where I need to go?

C-MIST identifies people’s actual needs during an emergency rather than labeling them as “special needs.” It is also more inclusive as it identifies people with temporary needs or those who do not identify themselves as having a disability.

Every person’s needs are different, and therefore preparation efforts need to account and be prepared to meet those needs. We talk about emergency kits and the basic items you should have in them but also highlight that everyone’s kit will look different because the needs of your family might not match the specific needs of my own.

This grant gives SJBPH the opportunity to talk about equity at an entry-level. Allowing people to start analyzing what community means to them and if that includes all populations.

The hope is to get the public to start thinking in terms of equity. That serving each individual’s needs in an emergency looks different person to person and hopefully understanding the message of equity in emergencies we can get people to carry it with them beyond the scope of an emergency.