Epidemiological Surge Response – Using CASPER

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Epidemiological surge response capability has been defined by The Trust for America’s Health as “the ability of public health and medical systems to care for a massive influx of patients during public health emergencies”.

To respond appropriately, one needs to know the current capacity of the public health system and understand the practical upper limits of what surge response might be expected given different scenarios.

The Texas Public Health and Medical Emergency Management 2012-2016 Strategic Plan lists as a goal the desire to “Improve systems to timely detect, identify, confirm, and report agents”  to create a better response to any public health emergency situation. One of the best tools developed to expand your epi capacity in an emergency is the CDC’s Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response or CASPER.

By the end of this training, you will be prepared to use CASPER in the event of a public health emergency-either natural or man-made. You will be able to work with your team and determine the health status and basic needs of an affected community during or after an event.

CEUs: 1 contact hour (0.1 CEUs) awarded upon successful completion


By the end of the Epidemiological Surge Response-Using CASPER course, the learner will be able to:

  • Explain when CASPER should be employed
  • Describe how a CASPER fits within an ICS
  • Describe different population sampling methods
  • Develop a data collection instrument
  • Develop an assessment tracking and referral form
  • Organize an assessment team



Capability 7: Mass Care

Function 2: Determine mass care needs of the impacted population

Function 4: Monitor mass care population health

Capability 13: Public Health Surveillance and Epidemiologic Investigation

Function 1: Conduct public health surveillance and detection

Function 2: Conduct public health and epidemiological investigations

Function 3: Recommend, monitor, and analyze mitigation actions

Function 4: Improve public health surveillance and epidemiological investigation systems



1. Model Leadership

1.1 Solve problems under emergency conditions

1.4 Maintain Situation Awareness

1.6 Act within the scope of one’s legal authority

2. Communicate and Manage Information

2.1 Manage information related to an emergency

2.4 Collect data according to protocol

2.5 manage the recording and/or transcription of data according to protocol

3.  Protect Worker Health and Safety

4.2 Employ protective behaviors according to changing conditions, personal limitations, and threats

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