Many of the things we do everyday help to prevent public health crises. Without restaurant inspections, immunizations or sewage and plumbing rules, many nearly “extinct” diseases would be much more prevalent in our community.
Other public health strategies such as good hygiene, eating well and exercising help protect the overall health of our community and may serve as essential tools in battling large scale disease outbreaks such as pandemic influenza.
However, we live in an unpredictable world, and as we learned from the terrorist attacks in 2001 and the hurricanes in 2005, the windstorm caused by Hurricane Ike in 2008, and H1N1 in 2009-10, public health emergencies can arise at any time. When they do, Hamilton County Public Health is ready to respond.
Preparing for public health emergencies involves planning, training and exercising. Hamilton County Public Health has developed response plans for a variety of situations and functions, including dispensing medications, pandemic influenza and crisis communication. Staff have undergone training related to managing emergency response activities. Lastly, preparing involves exercising – or practicing – our response plans to identifying where additional planning and training is needed.
Emergency Preparedness plans are available for review. Please contact us for additional information.
Hamilton County Public Health Emergency Preparedness Activities
Special Medical Needs Shelter – September 15-20, 2008 public health and the American Red Cross officials opened and operated a shelter for individuals with medical needs who were without power as a result of the windstorm caused by Hurricane Ike. A collaborative effort between multiple agencies including other health departments, Hamilton County DD and the Tri-State Medical Reserve Corps made this a successful week -long endeavor.
Alternative Care Center (ACC) Drill – On August 31, 2009 Hamilton County Public Health conducted an exercise with Bethesda North Hospital which simulated a wing of the hospital being evacuated to an ACC tent. Members of Hamilton County Public Health set-up the ACC tent and members of Bethesda North Hospital completed the mock evacuation.
H1N1 Influenza A Response – Public health authorities began utilizing years of pandemic flu response plans when H1N1 (swine) flu emerged in April 2009. Over 140 vaccination sites – known as Points of Dispensing (PODS) – were established to mass vaccinate groups of the community. PODS were located in schools and community buildings across the county. Through the collaborative efforts of schools, fire and police departments, government officials, Tri-State Medical Reserve Corps and nursing agencies, Hamilton County Public Health vaccinated more than 62,000 people.
- Current Threats
- Emergency Preparedness & Response
- How should you prepare?
- Public Health Emergency Response