Public Health Emergency Preparedness
The office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) coordinates the Health Department’s preparation and response to a large-scale public health emergency in order to protect the health and safety of residents in Cattaraugus County.
Examples of a large-scale public health emergency may include the following:
- Communicable disease outbreak (hepatitis A, measles, H1N1 influenza)
- Natural disaster (severe weather resulting in power outages)
- Bioterrorism incident (anthrax, plague, smallpox)
- Radiological disaster (dirty bomb, nuclear power plant accident)
We accomplish this by:
- developing collaborative partnerships with federal, state and local government officials, hospitals community-based organizations and volunteers
- developing plans and providing training
- conducting drills and exercises of those plans
- continually updating plans with all of our partners
One thing that we all can do to prepare for disasters is to make a plan, build a kit with essential items, and stay informed. We know that people who prepare before an emergency happens are able to keep their families safe and recover more quickly when disasters do occur.
Primary responsibilities include:
- Strategic National Stockpile (SNS)
- Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)
Strategic National Stockpile (SNS)
What it means to you.
The federal Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) has large quantities of medicine and medical supplies to protect the American public if there is a public health emergency (terrorist attack, flu outbreak, earthquake) severe enough to cause local supplies to run out. Once federal and local authorities agree that the SNS is needed, medicines will be delivered to any state in the U.S. within 12 hours. Each state has plans to receive and distribute SNS medicine and medical supplies to local communities as quickly as possible.
Cattaraugus County is prepared to receive, process and distribute medication, supplies and equipment to Points of Distribution (POD) sites and hospitals throughout Cattaraugus County.
What should you know about the medicines in the SNS?
- The medicine in the SNS is FREE for everyone.
- The SNS has stockpiled enough medicine to protect people in several large cities at the same time.
- Federal, state and local community planners are working together to ensure that the SNS medicines will be delivered to the affected area to protect you and your family if there is a terrorist attack or other medical need.
How will you get your medicine if the SNS is delivered to our area?
- Local communities are prepared to receive SNS medicine and medical supplies from the state to provide to everyone in the community who needs them.
- If such an emergency occurred, you would be informed how to get medicine to protect you and your family by watching TV, listening to the radio, reading the newspaper, checking this Web site.
Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)
Volunteers Building Strong, Healthy and Prepared Communities
During a large-scale public health emergency such as an influenza pandemic or an act of terrorism, medical volunteers would be urgently needed to assist local health officials with functions such as dispensing medications, vaccinating people or triaging. Creating such a team prior to an emergency is essential to assure that at we can quickly mobilize to stabilize our community. Unfortunately, numerous well-meaning volunteers were turned away in the aftermath of 9/11 because it was not possible to verify their credentials. having a functional MRC established will prevent that from happening in Cattaraugus County.
A wide range of of licensed or certified health professionals, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, veterinarians, mental health providers and others is needed. You can be be currently practicing, retired or in-training. Non-medical volunteers with skill sets including security, information technology, logistics and transportation will also be needed to support the health professionals.
MRC volunteers of all kinds can take additional satisfaction knowing they would likely be working in their own community caring for their own families and neighbors.
As a MRC member, you will have an opportunity to informally network with medical professionals from our county and across New York State. Volunteers will be provided with training in operating a Point-of-Distribution (POD) site, disaster management, incident command, local disaster plans, recognition of biological and chemical contaminants and other pertinent topics.
We recognize however that your time is important and therefore we pledge to keeping the time commitment to a minimum.
ServNY is a registry of health care and mental health professionals who wish to volunteer during an emergency or major disaster. Registering simply tells us that you are open to the idea of volunteering in case of an emergency. It does not guarantee that you will be called upon, nor does it mean that you must participate if called.
Please put your valued health skills to use in caring for your family and neighbors during an emergency by joining the Cattaraugus County Medical Reserve Corps.