|July 16, 2008|
In wake of recent flooding, Blagojevich administration continues to make emergency preparedness top priority
2008 Illinois Public Health Emergency Preparedness Summit: “Exercising & Assessing the Heartland” an example of emergency preparations
OAK BROOK, Ill. – After the recent flooding in Illinois, in which 24 counties were declared state disaster areas, the need for continued emergency preparedness became evident. Under Governor Blagojevich’s leadership, hundreds of Illinois National Guard troops were dispatched to help shore up levees, conservation police officers helped rescue people when some of those levees broke, and safe water to drink and medical care was made available to those affected by the flooding.
Now, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is teaming up with the Illinois Public Health Association for the 2008 Illinois Public Health Emergency Preparedness Summit: “Exercising & Assessing the Heartland” to ensure Illinois is prepared for whatever health emergency may arise in the future.
“While I was touring areas hit hard by the recent heavy rainfall and flooding, I saw a tremendous coordinated effort between state departments, county agencies, local health departments, and local groups to ensure the public’s health and safety,” said Governor Blagojevich. “We were able to respond quickly to the emergency, because we were prepared. The 2008 Illinois Public Health Emergency Preparedness Summit is an example of how we prepare to respond quickly to emergencies like the recent flooding, to minimize the impact.”
The Summit is designed to ensure emergency personnel, hospitals, emergency response agencies, public health departments, and others are prepared for an emergency. During the three-day summit, attendees have the opportunity to participate in roundtable discussions, attend workshops, listen to nationally acclaimed guest speakers, and network with others about how best to prepare for natural disasters, environmental health accidents, terrorist attacks, and disease outbreaks.
“Emergency preparedness is one of the state’s top priorities and we are committed to ensuring our partners at local health departments, hospitals, emergency medical services agencies, and beyond have the knowledge and the tools they need to keep their communities safe during a crisis,” said Dr. Damon T. Arnold, state public health director.
Summit keynote speakers include:
“The emergency preparedness summit provides IPHA members with an opportunity to partner with other state and local agencies to strengthen the emergency preparedness and response system in Illinois,” said James Nelson, executive director, Illinois Public Health Association.
A variety of workshops, exercises and roundtable discussions will take place during the summit and cover such topics as pandemic flu, sheltering needs, developing a medical reserve corps, psychology of terrorism, and planning for dispensing medicines and supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile.
Following an in-depth assessment, the CDC gave high marks to Illinois’ Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) plan to distribute necessary medications and medical supplies during an emergency. Illinois was one of only seven states in the nation to receive a perfect score for the state’s Emergency Health and Medical Preparedness Planning, from the Trust for America’s Health Annual Survey in December 2007.
Governor Blagojevich has made state preparedness one of his top priorities and has taken decisive leadership through actions, including:
of Public Health
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