Advanced Practice Toolkits for Emergency Preparedness

Montgomery County APC Case Study: Everybody Ready en Espanol Benefits Rural Idaho Community Health

Payette, Idaho, is located in the state’s southwest corner, bordering Oregon. It is a rural, agricultural region of about 30,000, with “forested mountain peaks, high desert plains, and sun-drenched valleys” according to the travel brochures. Valley Family Health Care (VFHC) serves a three-county region stretching 50 miles end-to-end where 30 percent of the population is Spanish-speaking. Carolyn Wesner is the Center’s Operations Manager.

“There used to be a larger migrant worker population in our area,” Wesner said recently. “But the community is not so much migrant anymore. Many families have settled in the area, seeing the value of consistant education for their children.” Many of the former migrant workers find jobs in the region’s produce-packing houses or other ag-related industries and become permanent members of the community, she added.

This transition from migrant population to permanent residency poses a challenge for Valley Family Health Care, as the Center is stretched to provide primary health services to this growing Hispanic community.  Prevention services, including emergency preparedness, also come under Valley Family Health Care’s purview.
Last year, VFHC began holding emergency preparedness events for the Hispanic community through their outreach program, La Familia Sana “We were amazed by how many people came,” said Wesner.  Nearly 600 people attended the two classes where Montgomery County APC’s popular Everybody Ready brochure was used as a handout.

“We received good feedback on Everybody Ready,” Wesner said. Information about what to put in an emergency “go kit” and how to plan for an emergency is the foundation of Everybody Ready. “Our clients are saying: ‘nobody is telling us this’ and ‘we need to know this.’ Especially in the Spanish-speaking community, nobody is talking about preparedness.”

To address the information gap, VFHC plans to focus on middle schools in 2011. “We believe the kids, who often serve as translators, will bring the preparedness message home to their families,” she said.  The center has received grant funding to produce 60 go-kits in backpacks, which will be presented in class at the schools. “The go-kits will serve as talking points,” said Wesner. “When the kids bring the backpacks home, they can start the (preparedness) conversation.”

Wesner says her team tries to communicate that the tasks in Everybody Ready are easy to accomplish. “It’s so simple to accumulate (the items in a go-kit) over time,” she said. “You just need to get a bag and every so often throw an item for your go-kit into it.”  She said residents can use local library or grocery store photocopying machines to make copies of their IDs and other important papers, such as vaccine records. “It has to be easy. We tell people it can be as simple as making lists and writing down phone numbers,” she said.

For Wesner, the availability of the Everybody Ready materials in Spanish was a big factor in selecting them. “We’re always looking for bi-lingual materials,” she said. “We’re so busy just providing services, we don’t have time to do translate preparedness materials. Anything that will help us reach out in Spanish is valuable.”

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