Public Health Ready program preps Valley for disasters, emergencies

newspaperThe Central Shenandoah Health District has been recognized by the National Association of County and City Health Officials for its ability to plan for, respond to and recover from public health emergencies.

CSHD demonstrated these capabilities by meeting the comprehensive preparedness benchmarks required by Project Public Health Ready, a unique partnership between NACCHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CSHD joins a cohort of more than 450 local health departments across the country that have been distinguished for excellence in preparedness through PPHR, either individually or as part of a region.

“We are proud to have been recognized by Project Public Health Ready for our high level of preparedness,” said Dr. Laura. Kornegay, Health Director for CSHD. “We will continue to work with our community partners to ensure that we are ready to respond to any public health emergency. Just as we have emergency plans for our communities, we also encourage families to have a plan for common emergencies such as winter storms.  Families should have an emergency kit prepared with supplies such as an alternate fuel source for heating your home; flashlights and batteries in your home and car; blankets; food that needs no cooking or refrigeration; a three day supply of water; prescription medicines; a battery operated radio and flashlights and battery powered cell phone chargers.”

PPHR recognition confirms that CSHD has a thorough and coordinated emergency response plan in place and that staff have the training to protect the health of the community during an emergency. Local health departments recognized by PPHR undergo a rigorous evaluation by peer review to assess their ability to meet a set of national standards for public health preparedness. These standards align with federal government requirements and other national best practices.

PPHR recognition also requires health departments to collaborate with their state, local, and community partners to develop plans that account for all the constituents in their jurisdictions. CSHD serves 293,000 citizens in a 2,500 square mile region that spans from Rockingham County in the north to Rockbridge County in the south and west to Bath and Highland Counties.

“When disaster strikes, it affects local communities, and local health departments are a critical part of any first response to disease outbreaks, emergencies, and acts of terrorism,” said Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, NACCHO Executive Director. “NACCHO commends CSHD for being a model of public health emergency preparedness.”

NACCHO, the voice of the 2,800 local health departments across the country, provides resources to help local health department leaders develop public health policies and programs to ensure that communities have access to vital programs and services that people need to keep them protected from disease and disaster. Its mission is to be a leader, partner, catalyst and voice for local health departments in order to ensure the conditions that promote health and equity, combat disease and improve the quality and length of all lives.

For more information on CSHD and the services that the local health departments provide in its communities, visit www.thehealthdepartment.org.

For more information on Project Public Health Ready, including recognized sites, project tools, and resources, visit www.naccho.org/PPHR .

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