Bioterrorism, infectious disease outbreaks, environmental hazards and natural disasters are all very real public health threats local public health agencies across the United States work to prepare for and respond to. In Colorado, that planning and response has earned the Jefferson County Department of Health and Environment national recognition as “Public Health Ready” by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
The JCDHE Emergency Preparedness and Response Program will be officially recognized for its ability to respond to public health emergencies at a ceremony on February 19, 2008, at the 2009 Preparedness Summit in San Diego, CA.
“This recognition goes to all of our staff who have worked diligently training, planning, collaborating and improving our ability to respond quickly and efficiently to any public health crisis in Jefferson County,” said Jody Erwin, JCDHE Emergency Preparedness Program Coordinator.
To earn the exemplary preparedness status, the JCDHE Emergency Preparedness Program underwent reviews by Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, NACCHO and the Project Public Health Ready Oversight Council and Review Committee (PPHRRC). JCDHE’s Emergency Preparedness Program demonstrated excellence in three key areas: planning for emergency preparedness, developing a competent workforce, and conducting exercises that simulate emergencies and give communities a chance to practice and evaluate their response.
Project Public Health Ready was developed by NACCHO with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a competency training and recognition program for excellence in local public health preparedness. In Colorado the project is accomplished through a partnership with NACCHO and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. There are approximately 3,000 local health departments in the United States and thus far less than 150 have been recognized as “Public Health Ready."
Dr. Mark Johnson, M.D., JCDHE Executive Director said, “We are pleased to be recognized as a leader in public health emergency preparedness and we remain committed to improving our ability to respond quickly and efficiently. We are also fully aware that our success in protecting the health and safety of our community during a public health emergency depends ultimately on the actions of our residents, businesses and community partners, and their advanced planning and cooperation with authorities during an emergency. We appreciate the efforts of all of our citizens who have packed home emergency kits, developed home or business emergency plans and placed a renewed emphasis on practicing healthy personal behaviors. We encourage everyone in Jefferson County to take the lead and prepare for public health emergencies.”
For more information on JCDHE Emergency Preparedness please call: Jody Erwin, MAS, REHS, JCDHE Emergency Response Coordinator at 303-271-8391 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or Jesse Weaver, Emergency Preparedness Planner at 303-271-8394 or email email@example.com.