Washington County Public Health recently tested different aspects of the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Plan. Public Health Administrator Edie Nebel says the drills were intended to see if plans needed adjusting. She says there is “almost always something new to incorporate or add to improve the current plans.” Nebel says they incorporated social media and texting this year as a way to notify the public and emergency responders.
She adds this was recommended by the Centers for Disease Control as effective ways to get information out when others ways of communications are not working. Nebel notes when they sent out the text message, everyone responded within 45 minutes and some answered within a couple minutes.
She says when they include other partners into annual exercises to test plans and capacity, it makes the simulation seem more real and allows for discussion between agencies and to be better prepared in protecting communities. For more information on local public health preparedness efforts, contact Washington County Public Health.