Bioterrorism & Disaster Preparedness Planning

The local health department's preparedness staff is responsible for developing local plans that interface seamlessly with the regional and state plan for an all hazards approach which is inclusive of incidents of bioterrorism, catastrophic infectious diseases such as pandemic influenza, natural disasters and any other public health threats and emergencies. Plans are developed in accordance with the National Incident Management Systems (NIMS). NIMS allows for all local and outside agencies to be able to respond more effectively together within a nationally recognized incident command structure.

Local planning partners include local and regional emergency management staff, local first responders, regional Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)/Hazardous Materials team and ect. While public health adopts an all hazards approach to planning, some of the plans which have been developed more extensively are the Strategic National Stockpile, Cold Chain, Continuity of Operations, Pandemic Influenza and Chempack. The preparedness staff is also involved with the collaborative effort in developing and updating the Region 10 Emergency Operations plan. Once the plans are developed, they are to be exercised to determine the strengths and identify the vulnerability or gaps of the plan and use the information gathered from the exercise to improve the plans. The plans are dynamic and are always a work in progress.

The local health department preparedness staff is working closely with all of the community partners which include first responders on a local, regional and state level to ensure our citizenry is protected to the fullest extent possible against all types of natural and man-made hazards.

Special Needs "Victim" being decontaminated during a Region 10 Exercise at Pikeville Medical Center

One of the Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) trained to assist their neighbors when first responders are over taxed during a disaster.

Sharon Green, RN is provided assistance as she dons her Level A suit for HazMat Technician certification.

United States Public Health Service (USPHS), one of local health's many partners, conduct Special Needs Shelter Training to assist during disasters.

Collaboration among local partners is also a necessity. Paul Conley conducts communications training with health department staff to ensure interoperability of communications.