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Essential Competencies


Description: This competency includes a basic understanding of the role and relationship between the U. S. Public Health Service and the National Park Service and identification of various public health subject matter.

1. Agreement between U.S. Public Health Service and National Park Service
2. Description of various public health subject matters with emphasis on park activities and visitor protection

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Knowledge and understanding of agreement between U.S. Public Health Service and the National Park Service.

Knowledge of the various public health subject matters that the Public Health Officer addresses with emphasis on park activities and visitor protection.


Description: This competency includes a basic introduction to the various public health subject matters with emphasis on park activities and visitor protection. Special emphasis to staff and visitor public health issues dependent on career field and park concerns.

1. Introduction to specific public health subject matters related to park activities and visitor protection.
2. Detail regarding those public health issues related to specific career field and park concerns

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Knowledge of specific public health subject matters related to park activities and visitor protection.

Knowledge in more detail regarding public health issues related to specific career field and park concerns.


Description: This competency includes a basic knowledge and understanding of the appropriate laws and regulations pertaining to public health and National Park Service guidelines and design directives regarding new facilities.

1. Laws and Regulations
2. Disease Reporting Requirements
3. National Park Service Public Health Guidelines
4. Design and Construction Directives

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Knowledge of the applicable laws and regulations pertaining to public health.

Knowledge of agency's approved disease reporting requirements.

Knowledge of NPS - Public Health Guidance.

Knowledge of design and construction directives for new facilities.


Essential Competencies


I. Planning

A. Introduction
Planning for recreational activities minimizes or eliminates future problems through the application of informed judgement and foresight. Preplanning conferences with all interested agencies are desirable. This procedure assists planners in providing projects which will serve the greatest number of people without disrupting the area involved.
Any location considered for development should be well drained, gently sloping, free from topographical or geological hindrances, and accessible to water supply and sewage disposal facilities. Sites should be free from heavy traffic and noise. To be most acceptable, sites should not upset the natural, scenic, aesthetic, scientific, or historic values of the area.
Avoiding locations near swamps and marshes, where insects such as mosquitoes may breed and cause severe annoyance and discomfort, will enhance enjoyment of the area by the public. The view of plans and specifications for proposed sanitary facilities is often the most important single procedure available to ascertain that health and sanitary conditions are met. Public health authorities have long recognized that efficient management and operation of water supply and sewage systems, incinerators, and food service establishments can be more readily achieved if defects and hazards are "built out" during the planning and design phases.
Plans and specifications should be submitted to the appropriate reviewing authority for review and recommendations. Appropriate changes should be incorporated in the plans and specifications before contracts are established or construction is started. Thus, coordination between the health agency and other responsible agencies is essential.

B. Problems Peculiar To Recreational Areas
Many recreational areas have unusual conditions of location and use which make it difficult to apply conventional designs. These conditions may include:
1. Seasonal Operation
2. Public Behavior
3. Vector and Animal Problems
a. Animal Pests
b. Animals that harbor and/or transmit infectious disease agents to people.

4. Noxious and Toxic Plants and Weeds
5. Landscape and Wildlife Protection
6. Proximity to Public Watersheds

C. Sanitary Surveys
Field inspections are important whether for an existing facility or for the development of a proposed new site. Surveys of existing sanitary facilities should be made as frequently as necessary to bring about compliance with applicable regulations.

D. Procedures for Reporting Communicable Diseases
Procedures should be established when communicable diseases in man, or diseases in animals transmissible to man are encountered.

II. Site Selection

Sites selected for development at recreational areas should be well drained, gently sloping, free from topographical or geological hindrances, and accessible to water supply and sewage works.
A. Location
B. Characteristics
C. Utilities

III. Watershed Management

Watershed management involves the supervision, regulation, maintenance, and wise use of the aggregate resources of a drainage basin to provide the maximum yield of desirable quality water, as well as to control erosion, pollution, and floods.

A. Construction
B. Logging
C. Grazing
D. Waste Disposal
E. Mining and Processing Ore
F. Pesticide/Herbicide Application Procedures
G. Fire Prevention and Control
H. Conservation
I. Recreational Use

IV. Water Supply

All recreational water supplies should meet the requirements of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

A. Water Supply Sources
B. Quantity of Water
C. Sampling Protocol
D. Sanitary Survey
E. Water Treatment
F. Distribution System
G. Disinfection and Flushing of System
H. Emergency Disinfection of Water in the Field
I. Methods of Emergency Disinfection
J. Drinking Fountains

V. Sewage Disposal

Safe disposal of human and domestic wastes in recreational areas is necessary to preserve both surface/groundwater sources, eliminate odor problems, and to maintain these areas in their present pristine condition.
A. Water-Carriage Sewage Disposal Systems
B. Sewage Treatment Plants
C. Septic Tanks and Subsurface Disposal Systems
D. Oxidation Ponds
E. Non-Water-Carriage Sewage Disposal Facilities
F. "Package Treatment" Plants
G. Wetland Treatment
H. Innovative Technology

VI. Plumbing

Plumbing includes the practice, materials, and fixtures used in the installation, maintenance, and alterations of all piping, fixtures, appliances, and appurtenances in connection with sanitary and storm drainage facilities, the venting system, and water supply systems.
A. Minimum Number of Plumbing Fixtures
B. Approves Construction Materials
C. Back-Siphonage and Cross-Connections
D. New Installations
E. Existing Installations
F. Methods of Correcting Plumbing Defects
G. Comfort Stations
H. Portable Toilets
I. Superchlorination Procedures

VII. Housing Hygiene

The public health aspects of housing involve the design and arrangements of the dwelling unit, the materials and methods of construction, the use of space by the occupants, the maintenance of the structure and dwelling area, and the availability of community facilities and services.
A. Light
B. Ventilation, Heating, and Air Conditioning
C. Housekeeping and Sanitary Maintenance
D. Space, Use and Location of Buildings
E. Source and Adequacy of Water Supply
F. Refuse Storage
G. Food Service
H. Fire Hazards
I. Sewage and Liquid Waste Disposal
J. Insect and Rodent Control
K. Landscape Maintenance and Mobile Home Inspection

VIII. Food Sanitation

Potential sources of contamination exist at all stages of production, processing, transportation, storage and preparation. Most food-borne disease outbreaks result from failure to maintain multiple barriers to transmission; the occurrence of an outbreak usually indicates the existence of unsanitary conditions which may pose a continuing health hazard until they are identified and corrected.

A. An Effective Food Sanitation Program
B. Food Supplies
C. Food Protection
D. Health and Disease Control
E. Cleanliness
F. Food Equipment and Utensils
G. Toilet Facilities
H. Hand-Washing Facilities
I. Refuse Disposal
J. Construction Materials
K. Temporary Food Service
L. Vending Machines
M. Safety Instructions

IX. Solid Waste Management

Health problems are often associated with improper storage, collection and disposal of solid waste in recreational areas. Experience has shown that when basic principles of sanitation are applied to solid waste management problems, with rodents, flies, and often insects are substantially reduced. In addition, good solid waste management eliminates fire, smoke, odors, and unsightliness often associated with "open dumps" and improves the appearance of recreational areas by reducing litter.

A. Storage
B. Collection
C. Disposal
D. Sanitary Landfills
E. Open Dumps
F. Incineration
G. Composting
H. Litter
I. Infectious/Hazardous Waste Disposal

X. Swimming Pools and Outdoor Bathing Places

Public Health authorities have been concerned with sanitation and safety problems involving swimming for many years. While accidents and drownings are the most dramatic statistics relating to swimming, the communicable disease aspects must also be given proper attention.
A. Bathing Place Sanitation
B. Swimming Pools
1. Water Supply
2. Sewer
3. User Loading
4. Dressing Rooms
5. Plumbing Fixtures
6. Electrical Safety
7. Bacterial Quality
8. Wading Pools
9. Design and Construction
10. Safety Procedures
C. Natural Bathing Places
1. Sources of Pollution
2. Bacteriological Standards
3. Safety Procedures
4. Prohibition of Unintended Usage

XI. Recreational Vehicles

The great increase in off-road recreational vehicles (ORV's) using public lands underscores the need to ensure the development of adequate parking areas, designated trails, and related health and safety standards.
A. Waste Disposal Station
B. Potable Water
C. Facilities for Recreational Vehicle Parking Areas
D. Refuse Disposal
E. Electrical Service
F. Park Design
G. Cross-connections/Backsiphonage

XII. Boating

Boating is a recreational activity which includes boats equipped with galley and toilet facilities. Therefore, body wastes, galley wastes, and other debris, if discharged into water courses, threatens or damages recreational activities, such as swimming, fishing, and other aquatic sports. It is then most important that the planning of marinas and boat launching areas consider all environmental health aspects.
A. Marinas
B. Boat Launching Areas
C. Boat Docking Facilities
D. Marine Sanitation Devices
E. Fueling Facilities

XIII. Insect and Rodent Control

Several groups of arthropods, reptiles, and mammals may create serious public health and nuisance problems at recreational areas. These include animals that transit and/or harbor infectious disease agents, bite or sting, or otherwise interfere with man's health, welfare, and comfort.
A. Insects
1. Mosquitoes
2. Flies
3. Cockroaches
4. Ticks and Chiggers

B. Aquatic Pests

C. Terrestrial Arthropods
D. Mammals and Reptiles
E. Chemical Control Measures
F. IPM Coordination
G. Rodent Control
H. Diseases
1. Hantavirus
2. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
3. Plague
4. Lyme Disease
5. Tularemia
6. Colorado Tick Fever
7. Relapsing Fever
8. Tick Paralysis
9. Typhus
10. Bacillary Dysentery
11. Typhoid Fever

XIV. Recreation Safety

Recreational areas should be free of unnecessary environmental hazards. The prevention of injuries through environmental control including site selection, proper construction and maintenance of facilities and resources is essential.
A. Site Selection
B. Buildings and Equipment
C. Fire and Safe Egress
D. Electrical Wiring
E. Heating and Ventilation Systems
F. Campgrounds
G. Playgrounds
H. Food Service
I. Swimming Pools
J. Natural Bathing Areas
K. Refuse Disposal

XV. Campgrounds and Picnic Areas

Camping and Picnicking is usually associated with other outdoor pursuits such as fishing, swimming, boating, sightseeing, horseback riding, hiking, walking and backpacking. Proper consideration must be given for environmental health factors in the development of such areas.
A. Layout and Site Selection
B. Size
C. Water Supply
D. Refuse Disposal
E. Comfort Stations

XVI. Stable Sanitation

Horseback riding is an activity available in many recreational areas. Horses are also used to pack supplies to remote back country or wilderness areas and are essential for fire control. Accumulations of horse manure afford breeding places for flies, and unless proper control measures are taken, will invariably produce large numbers of flies and attract rodents.
A. Stables and Corrals
B. Manure Disposal
C. Insect and Rodent Control
D. Water Supply
E. Wastewater Disposal
F. Veterinary Services

National Park Service
Training and Development Division
Essential Competencies

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