For first responders charged with providing emergency services in the event of a disaster, resources on preparedness and readiness are essential. The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Technical Resources Assistance Center and Information Exchange (TRACIE) website is a gateway to information on preparing and responding to medical or public health emergencies and disasters. ASPR TRACIE provides stakeholders at the federal, tribal, state and local levels, as well as partner non-governmental and private organizations, with access to a suite of products:
- Technical Resources;
- Assistance Center; and
- Information Exchange.
The Technical Resources section is further divided into two sub-sections – the Resource Library and Topic Collections. The Resource Library is a database of disaster medical, healthcare system preparedness and public health preparedness materials, courtesy of government agencies and other organizations. For example, the Resource Library now includes the complete Disaster LitTM: Resource Guide for Disaster Medicine and Public Health from the National Institutes of Health, with over 8,000 documents and resources. The Resource Library also contains documents from ASPR TRACIE subject matter experts (SMEs) and stakeholders. Topic Collections offer visitors another way to search and find relevant information, using an information tree. If a site visitor was interested in learning more about hospitals in disaster operations, Topic Collections suggests several sub-topics, including healthcare facility evacuation and hospital surge capacity. Documents and articles on the sub-topics are tagged accordingly for easy viewing.
The Assistance Center is staffed by specialists who are available for real-time help and support. They are available during business hours on weekdays via email, phone and through an online submission form. The Assistance Center offers help with using the Technical Resources databases, finding a SME, and resources on training and exercises that may be relevant for public health responders.
Lastly, the Information Exchange is a private information-sharing site for healthcare system preparedness officials. The site is password-protected, and applicants are subject to vetting and approval. Once applicants become members, they can have discussions, share materials and chat in near real-time with others on the site.
During National Preparedness Month and beyond, ASPR TRACIE is a great resource for public health partners and other stakeholders to learn more about what they can do to help their communities improve preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation efforts.