|August 26, 2008|
Illinois is a national leader for pandemic influenza preparedness
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – In another step to keep Illinoisans safe during an emergency, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced The Illinois Department of Public Health will begin a statewide pandemic influenza tabletop exercise series starting August 26 and running through November 6, 2008. The exercises are designed to discuss county preparedness plans and ways in which the State would provide resources in the case of an influenza pandemic.
“Illinois has become a leader in the nation for emergency preparedness efforts. Exercises like this test our ability to respond at the local level and strengthen the State’s overall preparedness. We can identify our strengths and weaknesses during these exercises, build better partnerships and gain valuable knowledge to respond to emergencies,” said Governor Blagojevich.
The exercise series will provide an opportunity for local health departments, hospitals, local law enforcement and emergency management agencies to discuss security needs outlined in each county’s community-based pandemic influenza plan. Additionally, the exercises will identify gaps or discrepancies in security plans and determine necessary plan revisions based on support capacity and capabilities.
“These exercises will not only require a tremendous amount of coordination between state agencies, but also between the state and local level,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Damon T. Arnold. “On the local level, we have trained with and depended heavily on coordination with local health departments and hospitals for dispensing medications during a pandemic flu. Now we will look at what security measures will be needed at hospitals and medical facilities during an emergency to ensure everyone safely receives the medical help they need and avoid mass chaos.”
The exercise series will involve more than 1,400 participants, across 21 locations, and will look closely at 97 county pandemic response plans.
“This exercise series is about strengthening working relationships among our partners in law enforcement, emergency management communities and the healthcare industry. It’s about increasing preparedness by sharing information and processes,” said Greg Chance, Knox County Health Department Administrator.
To reach the overarching goal of improving understanding of response plans and identifying areas for improvement, each exercise will focus on the following objectives:
A report outlining corrective actions and an improvement plan will be created during the early months of 2009.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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