Public Health Disaster

Emergency Preparedness

Your local health department is better prepared than ever before to respond to all types of public health emergencies. The department may be called upon to respond to the public health consequences of natural or man-made disasters (including terrorist attacks). The department also takes the lead in responding to outbreaks of communicable diseases such as the flu.

Buffalo Trace District Health Department has a preparedness coordinator responsible for developing, exercising and updating the Buffalo Trace District Health Department’s emergency plans.

The federal government also has increased preparedness for public health disasters. Large quantities of medications and medical supplies are stored at key locations throughout the country and can be deployed in just a few hours. Disaster medical teams can be dispatched. Disease surveillance has been improved.

Since 2001, Kentucky’s Department for Public Health (DPH) has received federal funds through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for public health emergency preparedness and planning. DPH collaborates with local health departments, emergency management, hospitals and other organizations to increase preparedness levels in the Commonwealth.

The preparedness staff periodically schedules public education opportunities. Check local media or call the District Office for dates and locations.

What can I do to be prepared?

No matter what kind of emergency may occur – a natural disaster or a terrorist event – all Kentucky residents need to take steps NOW to prepare themselves and their families for any type of emergency.

Ask yourself: If water, gas, electricity and phone service were cut off today (recall recent ice storms and tornadoes) – are you ready to respond?

Disaster strikes without warning. It can force you to evacuate your residence – or confine you to staying inside.

This is why experts cannot emphasize enough the importance of having a plan. Familiarize yourself and your family with the emergency plans of the areas in which you live and work – and with your children’s school emergency procedures. Know your hospitals and plan ahead how you and your family members will get home if area transportation systems or routes are shut down.

For more information on developing a family emergency plan, visit this website: http://www.ready.gov/

For information on family disaster plan checklists, click on this link FamilyDisasterPlanChecklist.doc:

The Kentucky Department for Public Health recommends that families have a disaster supply kit in place for any emergency – a tornado or flood or any other risk to health and safety. For a list of recommended items, click on this link: Emergency Supply Kit:

What can I do to help in an emergency?

The Buffalo Trace District Health Department sponsors a volunteer group called Medical Reserve Corps. These are medical and non-medical volunteers who have pledged their help to the health department in times of disasters and emergencies. The local MRC was actively involved in helping provide immunizations during the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic.

To learn more about how you can become involved in MRC, call 564-9447, ext. 130 or email Allison Adams, MRC unit leader.

To learn more about emergency preparedness, visit these web sites:

http://www.fema.gov
http://www.fema.gov/areyouready
http://www.cdc.gov
http://www.bt.cdc.gov
http://www.redcross.org/