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Wednesday 12/17/2014
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 Disaster Preparedness & Response

In partnership with the State of California and other counties within the Region 2 Operational Area, the Public Health Branch of the HHSA oversees several grant programs which fund staff positions and provide equipment, supplies and training to Public Health staff and community partners (hospitals, clinics). The goal of these programs is to prepare Public Health and our community partners for rapid response and mobilization in responding to all appropriate multi-hazard events, including natural disasters (floods, earthquakes, tsunamis), terrorist attacks and disease outbreaks. Response might include advisories/announcements to the general public, mass dispensing of vaccinations or other medicines to persons who have been exposed to harmful agents, and other health-related services. Public Health is linked to state and federal emergency response agencies through a 24-hour alert network.

The Hospital Preparedness Plan (HPP) grant is administered under the Branch of Public Health. The goal of this grant is to aid our hospitals, clinics, tribal clinics and EMS system in strengthening and improving their disaster preparedness capacity to respond to incidents related to large-scale events. This grant focuses on medical disasters as well as Mendocino County's highest risks of fire, floods and earthquakes (as they affect local medical services).

Mendocino County HPP Partners have been meeting quarterly since May 2005. This is the first time many of the hospitals and clinics have successfully met to begin planning for countywide medical and health disaster preparedness. HPP subgroups have formed to work on specific actions.

In addition to the HPP grant, Public Health receives a grant from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to support public health emergency preparedness. The overarching priorities of this grant include continued development and refinement of written plans and operating procedures to support the Local Health Department (LHD) Public Health Emergency Response, continued drills and exercises with associated after-action reports and corrective action plans, continued regional preparedness, inclusion of tribal entities in all appropriate emergency preparedness activities, determine the role of the LHD in the planning needs of special populations, testing communication devices, and increasing the number of healthcare providers on the California Health Alert Network (CAHAN).

Public Health has also received funding specifically directed toward planning, community outreach and education related to pandemic flu. This funding allows us to develop and test response plans, assist local businesses with continuity of business plans, and work with community partners (especially schools) to maximize successful management of a pandemic flu emergency.

To achieve these priorities Public Health staff have been actively pursuing collaboration opportunities with both local and regional partners and, in the past year, the Public Health employees have participated in a number of trainings and exercises to better prepare themselves to respond if called to duty as a Disaster Service Worker. Did you know that in the event of an emergency or disaster, county and city workers, police, fire, school personnel, etc. are required by law {California Government Code 3100-3102; Labor Code 3211.92(b)} to report for duty as Disaster Service Workers (DSWs)?

The first 72 are up to you! Get information on how you and your family can be better prepared for a disaster.

View the Mendocino County Emergency Operations Plan.

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