In response to events that occurred on September 11, 2001, the United States Congress provided funding to strengthen public health systems in every state. The Big Horn County Public Health Department, under the guidance of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, is proud to be a part of Emergency Preparedness for our local community. The primary goal of these activities is to be ready for health-related emergencies or threats. These could include such things as wildfires or winter storms, as well as chemical spills or bioterrorism.
The Big Horn County Public Health staff has been instrumental in reorganizing the LEPC (Local Emergency Planning Committee) for our area. The LEPC is a coalition of agencies and individuals representing many facets of emergency services, including law enforcement, fire departments, EMS, hospitals, clinics and more. Already the cooperative efforts of LEPC have led to upgrades in communications systems, emergency equipment, and training opportunities for these groups. Networking between tribal and county governments in regards to emergency preparedness has been strengthened significantly, building a united front for the protection of the communities across Big Horn County.
The Public Health Department’s specific roles in Emergency Preparedness involve the following:
- To establish and maintain effective disease surveillance, epidemiology and reporting.
- To support improvements in our local hospitals’ security, emergency planning and laboratory capacities.
- To develop strong networking and interagency relations, via upgraded communications technology and increased participation with other groups, with a goal of providing a solid infrastructure for use in the event of an emergency.
- To endorse and achieve core competencies among our own staff, which have been identified as essential to Public Health emergency preparedness.
- To educate the public regarding health / risk issues and emergencies – through effective and familiar channels – to the degree that they will know what to do and where to turn for help if a community emergency occurs.
- To contribute to the development of the Big Horn County Emergency Plan.
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