Epidemiologist, EPID

Position Category: 
All-Hazard Positions
Position Code: 
EPID
Functional Area: 
Coordination & Support
AD Class: 
AD-J

Introduction

The purpose of this position is to act as an advisor and technical specialist in the assessment and identification of current or potential situations which could cause infection or illness in first responders, park incumbents, or visitors as the result of an all-hazard incident.

Duties

  • Performs preliminary evaluation of the incident to determine the potential for illness or disease such as may be caused through water contamination, noxious fumes, exposure to chemicals, dead or injured wildlife, etc.
  • Implements the emergency response component of the Park Unit Health and Safety Plan.  Takes action necessary to assess the risk, and secure the scene appropriately.  Initiates action to implement the Incident Command System, and/or to request assistance from local/national public health resources.
  • Performs activities to control the situation such as monitoring water/wastewater systems, inspecting food service facilities and sanitation facilities, placing warning signs, or implementing institutional controls such as evacuation, and area closures.
  • Identifies the source and characteristics of the health hazard as well as any other potential health risks associated with the incident.  Takes appropriate action to mitigate risks identified.
  • Cooperates with and assists other emergency response resources.  Ensures proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and adherence to all safety procedures.
  • Directs and participates in decontamination/cleanup operations, and post-incident analysis activities.
  • Prepares and presents briefings regarding health issues encountered.  Receives situation reports and stays informed of mission objectives and status changes.
  • Performs additional tasks or duties as assigned during a response.

Position Knowledge and/or Requirements

  • Operational knowledge of the Incident Command System (ICS), and the development and use of integrated action planning concepts and processes.
  • Knowledge of emergency response requirements such as those included in a typical Park Health and Safety Plan.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of epidemiological concepts, principles and practices applicable to the conduct of evaluations of health risks associated with a variety of all-hazard incidents.
  • Knowledge is required to identify the potential for the spread of disease carried by airborne or waterborne agents, molds and fungus, and infected wildlife or domestic animals.
  • Knowledge of health hazards associated with exposure to a variety of chemicals and compounds used in park operations, or in industrial operations near or adjacent to a park unit.
  • Knowledge is required to recommend effective measures for the control and elimination of health risk factors identified.
  • Expert knowledge of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) requirements and use in operations where health risks are present.
  • Ability to communicate effectively orally, and in writing.

Supervisory Controls

Work direction is provided by the incident commander or other designated manager.  As the senior advisor/specialist in the field, the technical work is performed independently.  The incumbent may act as a team lead during the evaluation/assessment phase of the operation.  Work is reviewed for acceptability and compliance with operating instructions and procedures.

Guidelines

Guidelines include Federal standards and criteria documents, agency manuals, established practice, past evaluation reports, and a variety of technical literature including professional journals, textbooks, and literature published by agencies such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC).  Problems encountered are not always covered by guidelines.

The incumbent uses independent judgment in locating and selecting the most appropriate guidelines, references and procedures based on the situation at hand, and the potential for serious illness or disease as the result of exposure to a particular agent, virus, or bacteria.

Complexity

The incumbent responds to a wide variety of incidents which require diverse skills, often involving critical life-threatening situations such as exposure to chemical or biological agents released by spills, explosions, fires, or floods, and for which toxicological information is sketchy.  Emergency response in these situations often involves decision-making and action in extremely adverse physical and emotional conditions and ability to function effectively in controversial and/or sensitive situations.  Work requires application and modification of established practices in most areas of responsibility, with considerable individual discretion and judgment exercised in emergency situations to ensure the health and safety of first responders and park visitors.

Scope and Effect

The purpose of this position is to identify, evaluate, and control health hazards during and after an all-risk incident.

The work results in the containment or elimination of the health hazard, providing a safe environment for incumbents, visitors, and park neighbors.

Personal Contacts

Personal contacts are with local agency emergency response personnel, and/or incident management team personnel during the duration of the incident.  Additional contacts may be made with public health professionals from a number of state and federal agencies, media operations, park visitors, special interest groups, and others interested and assisting with the incident.

Purpose of Contacts

The purpose of contacts is to provide briefings, health information, and issue orders, as well as to relay incident information to and from the incident management team and other team members, and to provide information and assistance to public health officials.

Physical Demands

Work routinely involves physically rigorous assignments and strenuous activity.  Incumbent must maintain excellent physical condition to carry out responsibilities, including the ability to perform assessment and evaluation tasks while wearing heavy and cumbersome PPE.  Response to emergency situations often requires clear reasoning and decisive action under conditions of extreme mental and physical stress.

Work Environment

Work environment is indoors and outdoors in all types of weather, night or day, and for prolonged periods of time.  The incumbent is subject to exposure to a variety of hazardous substances, toxic fumes, and extreme heat or cold.

 

Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
2018-07-27