Environmental Health Issues in Disasters

Environmental Health
Online Course
2 hours
University of Alabama
South Central PERLC
Environmental Hazards

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This course in Environmental Health Issues in Disasters takes a closer look at the fundamentals of environmental health through the lens of a disaster situation. Environmental health issues that arise during disasters are explored, and suggestions for environmental health responses unique to disasters are given. Several historical disaster examples are used, with a focus on Hurricane Katrina, the Indian Ocean tsunami and the World Trade Center collapse as the major case studies. Upon completion of this course, the student will be proficient in the knowledge, theory, planning and application of each of the following fields of environmental health before, during and after a disaster: Water quality, Wastewater and sewage treatment, Food safety, Rodents and insects, Debris and hazardous waste, Indoor and outdoor air quality

Learning Objectives: 
  • Identify and prioritize the major elements of environmental health that become critical in disaster situations
  • Compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of individual drinking water wells and municipal drinking water treatment systems after a disaster
  • Compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of individual and municipal sewage treatment systems after a disaster
  • Identify reasons that food safety may become compromised in a disaster situation
  • List ways that food safety may be maintained during a disaster
  • List the major types of pests and vectors of concern following a disaster and identify the diseases that they may transmit
  • Describe measures that can be taken to control or eliminate exposure to each of these pests
  • Discuss the main challenges to proper disposal of debris and hazardous waste after a disaster
  • List some examples of possible air contaminants resulting from a disaster
  • Describe some issues that an environmental health specialist may encounter in trying to monitor air quality post-disaster
PHEP Capabilities: 
Community Preparedness
Mass Care
Responder Safety and Health