What is the health department doing to plan for an Emergency?
The Sullivan County Regional Health Department in conjunction with the Tennessee Department of Health has developed response plans directed at specific events. A list of these plans with explanations is below.
Sullivan County Bioterrorism Plan
This plan was developed to define the responsibilities of each agency within the county in the event of a bioterrorist event. This plan is included in the Sullivan County Emergency Operations Plan ESF-8.
Smallpox / Mass Vaccination Plan
This plan was developed to distribute the smallpox vaccine to the entire population of the county within a 10-day time period. This plan can be modified to adapt to the dispensing/distribution of any medication or vaccine to the public.
Strategic National Stockpile Plan
The SNS plan was developed to coordinate the receiving, storing and distribution of the federal SNS stockpile. A description of the SNS is listed below.
Strategic National Stockpile
The Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) is a unique resource that is available to all public health departments in the United States. The primary purpose of the SNS is to provide medical materials or pharmaceuticals that could be depleted quickly by local agencies or in case of certain vaccines only available through the CDC. One vaccine available through the SNS is the smallpox vaccine.
The SNS is comprised of two basic components. The first is called a 12-hour Push Package and consists of approximately 50 tons of materials available to handle a wide spectrum of events within the first few hours of an emergency. The “packages” are strategically placed throughout the US to be able to be delivered any where within 12 hours. The second component of the SNS is called Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI). VMI packages can be tailored to a specific need for supplies and can be delivered within 24-36 hours.
The SNS is a national asset and can only be utilized after local and state assets have been accessed. The Governor must request the deployment of the package from the federal government.
Protecting your family
There are simple things you can do now to prepare your family for a disaster. Assembling a supply kit and developing a family communications plan, are the same for both a natural or man-made emergency. However, there are important differences among potential threats that will impact the decisions you make and the actions you take. With a little planning you can be better prepared for the unexpected. See the following web site for more information. www.ready.gov
Make an Emergency Supply Kit
Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to make it on your own for at least three days, maybe longer. While there are many things that might make you more comfortable, think first about fresh water, food and clean air. Consider putting together two kits. In one, put everything needed to stay where you are and make it on your own. The other should be a lightweight, smaller version you can take with you if you have to get away.
Make a Plan for What You Will Do in an Emergency
Be prepared to assess the situation, use common sense and whatever you have on hand to take care of yourself and your loved ones. Depending on your circumstances and the nature of the attack, the first important decision is deciding whether to stay or go. You should understand and plan for both possibilities
Be Informed about what might happen
Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as assembling a supply kit and developing a family communications plan, are the same for both a natural or man-made emergency. Know the differences in the types of potential threats and any decisions that may be made dependent on the type of threat. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classifies three types of potential threats. These areas include biological agents, chemical agents, and radiological emergencies. The other area to be prepared for is natural disasters.
Several categories of biological agents are listed. This list includes bacteria such as anthrax (Bacillus anthracis) and botulism (Clostridium botulinum), ricin (castor bean toxin) and the virus smallpox (variola major). See the following web site for more information. http://www.bt.cdc.gov/Agent/agentlist.asp
There are many chemical agents that pose a threat which can be used as bioweapons. These include several forms of the chemical cyanide, mustard gas, and the nerve agent compound VX, a known chemical weapon. See the following web site for more information. http://www.bt.cdc.gov/Agent/agentlistchem.asp
Radiological emergencies occur when people are exposed to radioactive materials. A threat exists if a nuclear devise is used as a weapon, or if radioactive material is released from a nuclear facility. See the following web site for more information.
Natural hazards take on many forms, from the common thunderstorm producing lightning, flooding rains, severe winds to major winter storms. According to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, severe weather is the single most prevalent hazard in the state. See the following web site for more information.http://www.tnema.org/index.htm
What does it mean when a boil water notice is given?
Boiling water is considered the most effective and safe methods of disenfecting water. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, boiling water vigorously for one minute will kill and disease causing micro-organisms present in water.
If the water tasts flat, it can be improved by:
Pouring the water back and forth from one clean container to another. This is called aeration.
Allowing the water to stand a few hours
Adding a small pinch of salt for every quart of water boiled.
For more information on drinking water disenfecting visit the US EPA web site at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/faq/emerg.html