THIRA: Identify Issues Now To Avoid Issues Later

THIRA: Identify Issues Now To Avoid Issues Later

If we all had a magic crystal ball and could really see into the future, we would know what disaster is coming, when it's coming, and how many people and resources would be needed.  Unfortunately we DO NOT have a magic crystal ball, and we have to rely on hazard assessments, planning, training, and exercise response capabilities.  What we DO have are tools and assessments like the Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA) to help us "predict the future" or to Identify the Issues Now to Prepare for Issues Later.

THIRA is a detailed hazard vulnerability and capability analysis process that allows all response partners to know in advance what their threats and capabilities are.  It is an important tool because it keeps your healthcare coalition members, not only, aware but prepared and ready to face the entire spectrum of potential threats.  A THIRA is a four-step process on paper and a five-step process in reality.  The first four steps line out the process of completing the THIRA, and the fifth is an action step to move forward with the results.  It is flexible, scalable, and will work for communities of all sizes.

The THIRA steps are:
1. Identify threats and hazards of concern.
2. Give the threats and hazards context.
3. Examine the core capabilities using the threats and hazards (two sub-steps).
4. Set capability targets.
5. Apply the results.

This year, each healthcare coalition in the state of Illinois, who received funding for emergency preparedness under the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Grant, Healthcare Preparedness Program, or Cities Readiness Initiative from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) or Chicago Department of Public Health, will need to complete a THIRA report to continue receiving grant funding.  These are due by June 30, 2014.  If that is you, don't panic.  While that date is coming up fast, there are resources available to help you with this process.  In June 2013, FEMA came out with a second addition to the Comprehensive Preparedness Guide (CPG) 201 to provide communities with additional guidance for conducting a THIRA in your community.  This toolkit has forms and assessment processes to help you complete a THIRA report.  The THIRA Guide-Second Addition can be found | Here |

Since we don't have a magic crystal ball, we have to rely on the resources around us to plan and identify potential threats and hazards.  Using a THIRA enables the coalitions and other response partners to make smart decisions when responding to a disaster.  It also enables them to continue to receive funding from FEMA’s granting programs.  A win, win.
Tsoetsy Harris, MPH, MEP

Tsoetsy Harris, MPH, MEP

Independent Consultant

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