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Health Secur. 2016 Mar-Apr;14(2):93-104. doi: 10.1089/hs.2015.0060.

Longitudinal Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response to Wildfire, Bastrop County, Texas.

Abstract

On September 4, 2011, a wildfire ignited in Bastrop County, Texas, resulting in losses of 34,068 acres of land and 1,645 homes and 2 deaths. At the request of the Texas Department of State Health Services Health Service Region 7 and the Bastrop County Office of Emergency Management, Community Assessments for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER) were conducted in the weeks following the wildfire and again 3.5 years later to assess both the immediate and long-term public health and preparedness impacts of the wildfire. The objective of these assessments was to learn more about the trajectory of disaster recovery, including rebuilding, evacuation, household emergency planning, and mental and physical health outcomes among both adults and children. In 2015, households exposed to the 2011 wildfires were significantly more likely to have established a family meeting place and evacuation route, to have confidence in the local government's ability to respond to disaster, and to report symptoms of depression and higher stress. Longitudinal assessments using the CASPER method can provide actionable information for improved planning, preparedness, and recovery to public health and emergency management agencies and community residents.

PMID:
27081889
DOI:
10.1089/hs.2015.0060
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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