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The Community Communication Network is a two-way system for information exchange information between Public Health – Seattle & King County (Public Health), community and faith based organizations, and community leaders in order to ensure essential emergency and, potentially, lifesaving health-related information reaches all populations in King County, particularly those most vulnerable to disproportionate impacts related to an emergency or disaster. The CCN relies on our many member organizations and individuals to partner with us to assure that their staff, clients, congregations and community members get the information they need to stay safe.

Agencies are asked to receive information from Public Health, redistribute it to their clients, staff and community and to report back to Public Health impacts on their clients and community during an emergency.

Information sent FROM Public Health falls into three categories of messages (usually email):

  • Health alert: conveys the highest level of importance; warrants immediate action or attention. After-hours contact information may be used to contact organizations.

  • Health advisory: provides important information for a specific incident or situation such as: natural disasters, severe weather events, disease outbreaks, product contamination, and other events.

  • Email updates: a non-emergency message that offers a mechanism to stay connected to Public Health and informed about opportunities that may benefit organizations and their clients or staff. 

Health Alerts and Advisories are emergency message categories and may be sent from the Health Emergency Operations Center (healtheoc@kingcounty.gov) in the event of a Public Health activation or in order to streamline information being sent by Public Health.

Information sent TO Public Health:

In order to understand impacts on historically marginalized communities, Public Health depends on hearing from our partners. During times of emergency or disaster response, we will be reaching out to you to learn about impacts to the people you serve. Instructions will be given in the initial Health Advisory or Health Alert regarding how Public Health will receive "situational awareness" from members in the event of an emergency.

What do we need from you or your agency to participate?

  1. Identify agency contacts. Each agency should identify at least two staff (a primary and secondary point of contact) to enroll in the CCN. The best agency contacts are staff members who have the ability to triage important information and make decisions or are able to connect to leadership immediately should the need arise.

  2. Provide after-hours contact information. After hours information is required for the primary and secondary contacts. After-hours contact information will only be used in case a major emergency, health alert, or disaster occurs outside normal work hours and with impacts on populations served by yourself or your organization. We encourage others in your organization to sign up to receive email updates. These additional contacts are not required to provide after-hours contact information.

  3. Have a plan to redistribute information. Each agency is responsible for developing its own strategy of how information is shared internally to staff and externally to clients, and/or community members. The effectiveness of the CCN depends on your agency's ability to effectively reach your clients, and community members. Guidance for this process can be found in the following document under our Standards and Indicators for Community Based Organizations, Standard 3 or by contacting us.

  4. Update information annually. It is requested that contact information be updated annually through a CCN survey administered by Public Health. Roles and responsibilities change within organizations and we want to make sure we have the correct information when an emergency takes place.

Why is the CCN an important strategy?

It acts as a conduit of information to populations most likely to be disproportionately impacted by an emergency through local trusted sources (CBOs and community leaders).* Public Health knows that these are the same groups of people facing health disparities on a daily basis. We have targeted membership in the CCN to organizations and leaders that work with historically marginalized communities.

It provides quick and accurate health and emergency related information to members.

It provides Public Health with "situational awareness" from its members so we can act quickly and responsibly to minimize disproportionate impacts by advocating for the needs of historically marginalized populations

A message's trustworthiness is dependent on who delivers it. We know that trusted messengers are valuable partners in communicating messages to historically marginalized populations. We depend on you to help minimize inequities in emergency preparedness, response and recovery.

Sign up here!

New member enrollment: Verify that you have read the above information and agree to the following:

I agree to:

  • Receive timely health and safety information from Public Health.

  • Redistribute to staff, volunteers, partner/like agencies, residents/clients timely health and safety information as appropriate and throughout an emergency (each agency develops its own strategy of how information is shared internally to staff and externally to clients.)

  • Report to Public Health (as appropriate) the needs of staff, volunteers, partner/like agencies, residents/clients, and/or report essential situational information (be the "eyes and ears" for Public Health) to facilitate response and recovery during an emergency. Reporting also includes updating agency and contact information yearly.

The CCN working in the community – supporting documents

Visit the Public Health news page which contains information regarding currently known health alerts and advisories.

CR+EP reports on 2009 H1N1 vaccine outreach

From October 2009 to January 2010, Public Health - Seattle & King County (PHSKC) put considerable effort into vulnerable population outreach regarding the availability of H1N1 vaccine.

The strategies used include: engaging trusted leaders, utilizing a community communication network, and implementing community sponsored vaccine clinics. In April 2010, PHSKC contracted with the Center for MultiCultural Health (CMH), and the Alliance of People with Disabilities to help us better understand whether the strategies used were effective and whether the information reached the desired communities. Additionally, we wanted to become more aware of the health beliefs and/or potential barriers some communities have around being vaccinated or taking action on PHSKC’s recommendations.

Specifically, the purpose of the project was to assist PHSKC in assessing:

  • Effectiveness of outreach strategies used by PHSKC during the 2009 H1N1 influenza (swine flu) response

  • How communication currently works within culturally specific communities 

    • Identify communication channels
    • Identify trusted sources of information
    • Identify how information should be provided

  • Special considerations for successful communication in an emergency

    • Identify health beliefs in the community that may impact the likelihood of taking action

Ultimately, PHSKC is working to achieve the following goal: Methods for communicating with culturally-specific populations in an emergency will be clearly defined and enhanced in order to improve the timely distribution of information. As a result, culturally-specific populations throughout the region will receive, understand, trust, and be able to act upon the information they receive whether it is related to H1N1 or another public health emergency. PHSKC intends that the information gathered through this effort will move us closer to realizing this goal.