At last week’s Fire Protection Research Foundation Summit on Safe, Independent Living, Kristen Finne of HHS/ASPR/OPP/ Division of Health System Policy (DHSP) presented a session on a tool developed by ASPR which can be very useful in emergency preparedness.
The tool, called the HHS emPOWER Map, takes up-to-date monthly data on the number of Medicare beneficiaries that have claims for electrically-dependent medical equipment. Disasters/Emergencies which result in power outages can be life threatening to these people. The tool allows users to identify the number of the individuals at state down to zip code levels. Those tasked with emergency management functions whether from a jurisdictional level or to individual health care facilities can use this data to help assist in planning for the surge which these individuals can potentially cause their shelters or facilities looking for dependable power sources. Or better yet, they may develop a means for meeting the needs of these power-dependent individuals in a more proactive manner so that they can stay in their homes while work is underway to restore power.
I encourage you to check it out. Click the link above or use http://www.phe.gov/empowermap/Pages/default.aspx to access the HHS emPOWER Map.
Here’s the description from their site:
“Over 2.4 million Medicare 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.
How can we empower community and electricity-dependent Medicare beneficiary health resilience?
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.
Together, we can all better anticipate potential access and functional needs, emergency plan for the whole community, and assist our at-risk community members before, during, and after an emergency.”