The Salem County Health Educator/ Risk Communicator (HERC) works under the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Division to prepare the health department, county partners and the community for public health emergencies. The main role of the HERC is to educate the public before emergencies about how to prepare for and prevent public health emergencies. Some examples would be teaching about hand washing at grade schools to prevent influenza or other illnesses or working with companies to create emergency plans for their employees during storms.
The other piece of the HERC’s role is risk communication. This comes in during and after emergencies. During an emergency the HERC would be responsible for communicating with the public about how to protect their health or where they can go for help. Examples of this would be press releases about how to boil their water so it is safe to drink or social media updates about where medication or shelters are located.
It may seem like a simple concept but the HERC has a very vital role in preparedness. The plans that the Health Department has in place will not work if the community does not know what to do or where to go in an emergency. The HERC is available for presentations for community organizations such as schools, senior centers or any other groups. The HERC can also be a contact to work with businesses on emergency plans and messaging to keep their staff healthy.
If you want to know more about how the HERC can help you be prepared for a public health emergency, call 856-935-7510 ext. 8302