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Douglas County Health Department Spotlighted for Emergency Planning

The Douglas County Health Department was recently spotlighted by the Center for Emergency Response and Terrorism. Following is the article as it was published in the Planners Update.

“When a public health emergency occurs, the very nature of the word ‘emergency’ declares that time is of the essence. In a public health agency, as with any organization, there is no guarantee that the first person to identify the emergency is necessarily the one who is most prepared to act on it.

“The first person on scene may be a clerk, a nurse, or a janitor, rather than the administrator or emergency planner. That is why the Douglas County Health Department set up an emergency preparedness cabinet on wheels.

“This cabinet can be utilized by anyone in the organization and is ‘user friendly.’ Anyone can roll the cabinet to their area, open the doors and easily recognize the information or equipment they might need to get things started.

“Included in the cart are brightly colored and labeled folders with information on many different types of public health emergencies, such as pandemic outbreaks, food safety during power outages, tornadoes, and many more.

“Another colored folder contains critical contact information for notification of proper authorities as well as the call down roster for staff and Board of Trustees. A copy of DCHD’s emergency plan, templates for PSAs and messaging, and the Department’s LPHA toolkit are invaluable tools and are included. There is also some basic equipment in the cart, such as P25 emergency radios, masks, and gloves.

“The cart got a chance to earn its keep during the tornado which hit the Ava square in 2008. Information needed was readily on hand and staff fanned out throughout the county to ensure the health and safety of our citizens.”