Health and Family Services Cabinet
Federal Disaster Preparedness Officials to Visit Kentucky
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 22, 2007) – Federal disaster preparedness officials with the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will visit Kentucky this week to observe emergency preparedness measures in the state.
The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) will host the visit by federal regional emergency coordinators (RECs) Oct. 24-25.
“We are pleased to have this unique opportunity to host these federal emergency coordinators on their visit to our region,” said William D. Hacker, M.D., commissioner for public health and acting undersecretary for health at the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. “We are extremely proud of our work in the field of public health emergency preparedness and are looking forward to sharing our accomplishments with them.”
In addition to meeting with DPH officials, the group will visit the Fayette County Emergency Operations Center (EOC); observe an exercise of the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program; tour the DPH Operations Center and State EOC in Frankfort; and meet with the Region 13/14 health care planning coalition in Lexington.
RECs work closely with state, local and tribal health officials to maintain high levels of preparedness throughout the country’s 10 disaster planning regions by monitoring emerging public health concerns and relaying information to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.
The federal REC program was established in 2005. Team members come from a variety of public health backgrounds and represent a wealth of experience in emergency planning and response.
Governor Ernie Fletcher’s administration has focused on increasing public health preparedness statewide through a variety of initiatives and improvements, including: extensive pandemic influenza planning and summits in all 120 counties; upgrading the DPH emergency operations center and adding a public health mobile communications trailer; establishing regional caches of pharmaceuticals and chemical weapon antidotes; creating the Kentucky Outreach and Information Network (KOIN), a grassroots network designed to reach vulnerable populations during emergencies; and setting up back-up communications systems for health departments and hospitals statewide.
For more information on public health emergency preparedness, visit http://www.chfs.ky.gov/dph/epi/preparedness/.