Interactive Online Tool Launched for Health Disaster Readiness

Interactive Online Tool

The U.S. Dept for Health and Human Services (HHS) has launched the HHS emPOWER Map, an interactive online tool to aid community health agencies and emergency management officials in disaster preparedness, in its ongoing efforts to support community resilience and build national health security.

The tool will aid community residents who rely on electrically-powered medical and assistive equipment to live independently at home.

Dr Nicole Lurie, HHS’ assistant secretary for preparedness and response said that the tool “helps communities better anticipate, plan for, and respond to these unique needs of this population and improve resilience for the entire community before and after disasters.”

Over 1.6 million Medicare Fee-For-Service beneficiaries rely upon electricity-dependent medical and assistive equipment, such as ventilators and wheel chairs, in our communities. Severe weather and disasters that cause power outages can be life threatening for these individuals.

Every hospital, first responder, electric company, and community member can use the map to find the monthly total of Medicare beneficiaries with electricity-dependent equipment claims at the U.S. state, territory, county, and zip code level and turn on “real-time” NOAA severe weather tracking services to identify areas and populations that may be impacted and at risk for power outages.