The Department of Environmental Health (DEH) prevents and minimizes where possible, incidence of disease, injury to people and damage to property through environmental health engineering and safety measures.
Environmental Health Officers will be located in the districts, usually at a shelter, to assist and provide advice to the public. The main offices will open as soon as practical to provide as many services as possible.
The following is a brief summary of activities the DEH will undertake following a hurricane or similar event:
- Determine health priorities.
- Test and treat water supplies.
- Provide supervision & assistance with provision of temporary shelters.
- Advise on mass feeding and food sanitation.
- Advise on environmental sanitation.
- Advise on garbage disposal.
- Advise on disease investigation and control.
- Advise on vermin/pest control, mostly rodents.
- Supervise the reinterment of corpses and burial of the dead (humans & animals), as necessary.
- Determine status of private and public cemeteries.
- Advise on human waste disposal and provide sanitary facilities, if necessary.
- Maintain regular public education and promotion activities.
Household Health & Safety
The first concern after a disaster is your household's health and safety.
- Be aware of new hazards created by the disaster: washed out and slippery roads, contaminated buildings, contaminated water, gas leaks, broken glass, and damaged wires.
- Be aware of exhaustion. Don't try to do too much at once. Set priorities and pace yourself.
- Drink plenty of clean water. Eat well and get enough rest.
- Wear sturdy work boots and gloves.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and often with soap and clean water when working in debris.
- Inform authorities about health and safety hazards, including chemical releases, sewage overflows, downed power lines, washed out roads, moldy insulation or dead animals.