Jacksonville, a city in the Florida United States of America, became the seat of Duval County after the consolidation process that took place in 1968(Davis, 1925). It is situated in the northeastern region of Florida along the region where St Johns River meets the Atlantic Ocean. The residents of the city are usually labeled as the Jacksonvillians.
The city boasts of the vast area. It is the twelfth most populated city in the United States of America. To cater for this population, it has necessitated the city to establish a number of social amenities. The city boasts of ancient performing theaters. The Florida theater which was officially opened in 1927 and the largest in Florida, is hosted here. Generally, all sectors ranging from shopping malls, parks, and gardens, law, and government, schools, colleges, universities, public libraries, housing, non-governmental organizations to transport sector have been improved to meet the standards of a modern city.
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In this paper, my main focus will be on the public health sector. The public health department in a vast city with a large population ought to be well equipped and structured. This is to ensure that the needs of all the residents in the city on medical grounds are taken care of. The city has numerous health facilities which cater for all residents and also outsiders like St Vincent’s Healthcare, Mayo Clinic among others. Particularly, I will focus on the emergency response structure, the surveillance systems used in hospitals, roles the departments in the region play in bio watch and the entire role played by the department during emergencies.
EMERGENCY RESPONSE STRUCTURE
The emergency response section in Jacksonville has been structured to enable effective attendance to emergency situations that may arise in the city.
The department has categorized the emergencies in three levels (John, 1969). The first level comprises of situations which may pose a danger to the residents of the city. This level can be dealt with by the city First Response team or the Florida response team. This normally takes a duration of less than 12hours with the deployment of the first response team and the ambulance on the ground. The second level is the serious emergency level. This level is much critical and therefore cannot be put in control by the First response team. It calls for the deployment of the Emergency Operations group to the ground and this takes a duration of 12-24 hours. The third level is the Crisis situation. The situation may pose serious effects to the city. This takes a duration of almost 24 hours laying strategies with the Crisis Management group.
The emergency unit has been structured to address each level effectively (Richard, 2007). At the base is the First response team. This section is usually under the city commander. It deals with the first level in the city. The second, group is the Emergency Operations Group. This group offers basic aid to the First response team. It is mandated with the management of the communication system within the emergency unit and also documentation of information within the unit. The Emergency Operations group, strategies on long-term policies and decisions on the emergencies. The unit major goal is to minimize the effects of emergencies and also ensure full recovery of the situation after it. The highest and the paramount body is the Crisis Management team. This team offers assistance to the Emergency operations group. It communicates to higher departments and provides a spokesperson to the media. The team considers the damage the emergency may cause on the city and its reputation. All these levels complement each other in addressing emergencies.
Public health surveillance is a systematic process whereby data is collected, analyzed, interpreted, integrated and then disseminated to the relevant parties in order to contain a disease or injury (Tinder, 2013). It is a tool to check the health conditions and also their behaviors. Hospitals in Jacksonville have put up various systems to ensure that this is done. These systems range from indicators, active, passive, routine health information, health information, categorical, integrated to behavioral risk factor surveillance.
Indicators are usually the elements that can be measured to make an estimation of what is happening on the ground. An active surveillance system is where the hospital deploys staff members on the ground to collect data and report. Passive surveillance depends on already collected reports. In routine health information, the medical practitioners as a routine take the information of the patients and record the data. Health management is a passive surveillance used by managers in the hospitals from reports on information delivered by the practitioners. Behavioral risk factor surveillance system employs the study of people’s behavior that may portray certain infections. From these systems, it is evident that the hospitals in Jacksonville aim at making evidence-based decisions on health matters.
Hospitals in Jacksonville have their employees and the patients at heart. Biohazards are pathogens that pose a threat to biological life (Tinder, 2013). Systems have been put in place to ensure that they are safe from biohazards. The hospitals employ the use of improved technology to detect biohazards. The most recent machine is the use of an automated machine. Samples are collected and passed through the machine. The items are only delivered to the ground after verification that they are safe for human consumption. The hospitals also have systems to sterilize items and treat waste products. This ensures that the wastes released to the public are free from pathogens.
This system with the use of advanced laboratory equipment’s, has played a significant role in bio watch. Pathogens released in the city can easily be detected at the primary stage. Anthrax pathogens which took a time to be detected can be detected easily by screening.
ROLE IN EMERGENCY
The health department plays a major role in the case of an emergency. It plays a leading role in educating and sensitization of the masses. It sensitizes the masses on the crisis. The department also collects data directly on the ground and interact with the victims. Indirectly, it offers support by funding emergency response groups and persons. They equip them with equipment and protective gear. It also offers training and support to volunteers during emergencies.
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Davis, F. (1925 ). History of Jacksonville, Florida and Vicinity. Florida . University Press of Florida.
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John, B. (1969). Emergency Department Procedures . London. Columbia University Press.
Richard, Y. (2007 ). Rampart Hospital . Emergency Behind the scenes. London. Columbia University Press.
Tinder, P. (2013). Bio watch Program. Chicago. Chicago University Press.