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November 18, 2013

Health Department Holds Preparedness Training for County Organizations

Bio-Defense Network presenter Harlan Dolgin explains to businesses and organizations why partnering with the Health Department will enhance the community's preparedness in case of a bioterrorism event. .

OSWEGO COUNTY- On Wednesday, November 6 the Oswego County Health Department held an informational program for some of Oswego County's largest employers regarding ways of protecting their most important assets, their employees, during a biological threat. The program was provided by the Bio-Defense Network and designed to enhance the ability of the County Health Department to distribute medication to all County residents in case of a declared disaster.

"The federal government will make lifesaving medications available to communities as quickly as possible after a bioterrorism event has occurred," said Anna McNamara, Public Health Educator and Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for the Oswego County Health Department. "We are now looking to partner with local businesses in order to use them to distribute medications, in a timely manner, to their own staff and family members during an emergency. This will essentially enhance distribution capabilities in our local community."

In the event of a biological threat, Oswego County would establish public points of dispensing (POD) sites to distribute medications. County residents would go to one of these sites to pick up medicine for themselves and their household members. The goal would be to get medicine to all County residents within 48 hours. Trying to serve the entire population in that amount of time could potentially lead to long lines and wait times. Oswego County is working with the Bio-Defense Network to help resolve this issue by allowing large organizations with discrete populations to be closed POD's. With closed PODs, the health department can distribute large amounts of medication to participating businesses and organization to hand out to their staff. This reduces the number of residents that will need to visit a public site to pick up medication, which should decrease the wait times at public PODs.

Several organizations were present during this program some of which included Cayuga Community College, the YMCA, SUNY Oswego, Novelis, St. Luke's, Fulton City School District, Price Chopper, Constellation and Entergy.

Organizations that were interested and want to move forward in this community preparedness initiative will be invited for further training on how to set up and operate a POD for their staff. The Oswego County Health Department will also help them exercise the plans they develop, and invite them to observe exercises they conduct testing their own plans.

For more information please contact the Oswego County Health Department at (315) 349-3545.

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