GP: 5 Disaster Preparedness/Response

Effective Date: 10/12 Downloads: PDF Version    Revised Date: 07/14
   

Policy

In preparation for and in the event of a major disaster or hazard, the Local Agencies are required to follow the procedure and coordination requirements as described in this policy.

Procedure

A natural or man-made disaster, such as a flu pandemic, fire, flood or earthquake is possible within the State of Nevada sometime in the future. The disaster will affect some portion of the general population, government agencies (local, State, national), retail and wholesale grocery industry and other elements of the food system within the State.

 

The severity of the particular disaster or emergency will dictate the level of response that the Nevada WIC Program undertakes. A potential of four levels of severity are envisioned.

 

Level 1 A small number of staff and WIC participants are affected. The retail grocery system remains operational. The program will continue normal operations at the State Agency and Local Agency levels with minor adjustments made for unavailable staff. Issuance procedures will be modified to limit exposure of unaffected staff and participants at clinic sites.

 

Level 2 A significant number of staff (25% or more) are affected. Lack of staff at the State Agency and Local Agencies requires significant modification to procedures to ensure continued issuance of food instruments to participants. The retail grocery system continues to operate.

 

Level 3 This level will be reached when 40% of staff are affected or there is a declaration of an emergency or disaster by the Governor of Nevada, U.S. Government, or in case of a pandemic, the World Health Organization. Only a very small number of staff at the State Agency and Local Agency levels is available. The retail grocery system remains somewhat intact. The State Agency and Local Agencies will operate under significantly modified procedures which allow for the issuance of food instruments. Not all WIC clinics will be operational, requiring the consolidation of clinic operations at a few central locations.

 

Level 4 At this level, a declaration of an emergency or disaster by the Governor of Nevada, U.S. Government, or in case of a pandemic, the World Health Organization has been issued. The disaster results in the shutdown of the retail grocery system. At this point, the WIC Program will cease operations and participants will be directed to disaster feeding sites under the auspices of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and/or State disaster agencies. If the disaster agencies are unable to provide infant formula to program participants, the WIC Program will institute an alternate delivery system to provide necessary formula.

 

Level 1 Procedures

 

In an emergency determined to be Level 1, the WIC State Agency will continue normal operations. The retail grocery system remains operational.

 

State Agency – the State Agency will perform the following activities:

 a) Data System – The State Agency will continue to ensure the efficient operation of the WIC MIS. No changes to the system are required in a Level 1 emergency.

b) Financial Operations – All financial activities associated with the Nevada WIC Program will continue as normal.

c) Communication Plan

1. The State Agency will communicate information, policies, and guidance affecting services to WIC participants, vendors, and staff to the WIC Local Agencies.

2. The WIC Local Agencies will implement the communication strategies and direction provided by the State Agency.

d) Food Delivery – Vendor management and monitoring will continue as normal.

e) Staff Assignments – State Agency staff will continue with their normal assignments.

 

Clinic Operations – Local WIC Agencies

 

1) will continue normal clinic operations.

2) will take steps to identify staff members or participants who are possibly affected.

3) Participants who present at a clinic site and are identified as ill will be separated from others and provided with their benefits and rescheduled according to their risk.

 

Level 2 Procedures

 

In an emergency determined to be Level 2, a significant number of staff at the State and local level are affected (25% or more). Lack of staff at the State and Local Agencies requires modification to procedures to ensure continued issuance of food instruments.

 

State Agency – the State Agency will perform the following activities:

a) Data System – The State WIC Director or designee will determine the availability of qualified staff and make reassignments as necessary to ensure the continued operation of the WIC MIS.

b) Financial Operations – The WIC Program or designee will determine the availability of qualified staff and make reassignments as necessary to ensure the following financial activities are given priority:

1. Daily cash transfers to cover redeemed food instruments.

2. Financial projections and reporting.

3. Budget preparation and tracking of food funds

All other activities are secondary to those listed above.

c) Communication Plan

1. The State Agency will communicate information, policies, and guidance affecting services to WIC participants, vendors, and staff to the WIC Local Agencies.

2. The WIC Local Agencies will implement the communication strategies and direction provided by the State Agency.

d) Food Delivery – The State WIC Director or designee will determine the availability of qualified staff and make reassignments as necessary to ensure that the following activities are accomplished:

1. Technical assistance to WIC vendors

2. Monitoring of redemption patterns

e) Staff Assignments – The State WIC Director or designee, in coordination with WIC team leaders, will determine the availability of staff to do the following:

1. Provide technical assistance to WIC Local Agencies

2. Monitor and report on the impact of the emergency on Local Agencies’ WIC clinic operations.

All other activities are secondary to those listed above.

 

Local Agencies

 a) Clinic Operations –

1. Will continue to operate as practicable dependent upon the availability of clinic staff.

2. If the lack of available staff dictates, the Local WIC Director, with the approval of the State Director, may consolidate clinic operations to a limited number of sites.

 

Level 3 Procedures

 

In an emergency determined to be Level 3, a small number of staff at the State Agency and Local Agencies are expected to be available (60% or less). The State Agency and Local Agencies will operate under significantly modified procedures which allow for the issuance of WIC food instruments. It is assumed the retail grocery system remains somewhat intact.

 

State Agency – The State Agency will perform the following activities:

 a) Data System – The State WIC Director will assess the availability of qualified staff and will assign available staff to oversee operation of WIC MIS. All other activities are secondary to this.

b) Financial Operations – The State WIC Director or designee will assign any available qualified staff to ensure the following tasks are accomplished:

1. Daily cash transfers to cover redeemed food instruments.

2. Financial tracking and reporting

All other activities are secondary to those listed above.

c) Food Delivery – The State WIC Director or designee will assign available qualified staff to perform the following functions:

1. Technical assistance to WIC Vendors

2. Monitoring and redemption patterns

d) Communication Plan

1. The State Agency will communicate information, policies, and guidance affecting services to WIC participants, vendors, and staff to the WIC Local Agencies.

2. The WIC Local Agencies will implement the communication strategies and direction provided by the State Agency.

e) Staff Assignments – The State WIC Director or designee, will determine the availability of staff to do the following:

1) Provide technical assistance to Local Agencies

2) Monitor and report on the impact of the emergency on Local Agencies’ WIC clinic operations.

3) As staffing allows, augment other WIC teams

 

Operations Local Agencies

 

In Level 3 emergencies, staff availability at the Local Agency level will be very limited. In all probability, there will not be sufficient staff to operate all WIC clinics within the Local Agency’s service area. In this case, after notification to and approval from the State Agency, the following actions may be taken:

a)  Consolidation of Service Delivery:

If the lack of available staff dictates, the Local WIC Director may consolidate clinic operations to a limited number of sites. (The Local Agency will ensure that affected program participants are informed of the change in location for receiving services).

b)  Mailing Food Instruments:

If staffing does not allow for the operation of a clinic, the Local Agency, with authorization from the State Agency, may institute a process for the mailing of food instruments to participants or home delivery.

c)  Masks:

If it is determined that masks are necessary for the safety and well-being of WIC Program participants and employees during the conduct of WIC Program operations, the purchase of such items would be allowed.

 

Certification

a)  Physical Presence:

Persons with a serious illness that may be exacerbated by coming in to the WIC clinic may be exempt from the physical presence requirement (this would also apply if applicant/family members are under a voluntary quarantine). Newborn infants and high risk applicants (e.g., 2-year-old burn patient) will be enrolled for one (1) month via telephone interview and declaration of identity, residency, income, medical and risk documentation will be accepted.

b)  Certification Periods:

The Certification period for children may be extended by not more than 30 days to accommodate difficulty in access or a need to isolate a child.

 

Nutrition Education

 Nutrition education can be provided via educational materials (e.g. pamphlets), telephone, or mail, or online at http://wichealth.org

 

Food Delivery

a)  Proxy Pickup:

Participants who are unable to redeem their food instruments due to illness or voluntary quarantine can designate another person to pick up WIC foods at an approved vendor.

b)  Ready-to-Feed:

Ready-to-feed formula may need to be issued in circumstances where the water supply may be contaminated or is unavailable.

 

Level 4 Procedures

In a Level 4 emergency, a declaration of emergency or disaster has been made by the President and/or the Governor and the retail grocery system has shut down. At this point, the WIC Program will cease operations and participants will be directed to disaster feeding sites under the auspices of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and/or State and Local disaster agencies.

If disaster agencies are unable to provide infant formula to program participants, the WIC State Agency will institute an alternate delivery system to provide the necessary formula to infants in the WIC Program. The State Agency will institute and maintain contingency contracts with formula suppliers to be utilized in periods of emergency.