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6/17/13: County Public Health Emergency Preparedness Score Increases Significantly


Centers for Disease Control Readiness Review Shows Notable Improvement, Highest Score Since ‘09

ERIE COUNTY, NY— Today, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz called attention to a recently-released Strategic National Stockpile Local Technical Assistance Review (“SNS/LTAR”), which evaluates Erie County’s (“the County’s”) ability to respond to a crisis requiring use of the Strategic National Stockpile. The annual review, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, indicated that the County’s average score across twelve functional areas was 95%, up from 77% in 2012 and 65% in 2011.

“The rating we received in this LTAR is indicative of the importance my administration has placed on planning, training and readiness for our Public Health, Emergency Services, Sheriff, Public Works, and other personnel, as well as the constant  need to keep current with developments and recommendations on the federal level. These are ongoing investments in the public good which, as I mentioned in my ‘Initiatives for a Smart Economy’ address, enhance our quality of life,” said Poloncarz. “We must remain vigilant and prepared for a possible future emergency. There are many people who are dedicating their careers to protecting the public and their dedication has contributed to this score going up. I want to thank them for their commitment to keeping their skills up-to-date and for their continued vigilance in protecting the residents of Erie County.”

The Strategic National Stockpile (“SNS”) is the United States’ national repository of antibiotics, vaccines, chemical antidotes, antitoxins and other critical medical equipment and supplies. In the event of a national emergency involving bioterrorism or a natural pandemic, the SNS has the capability to supplement and re-supply local health authorities that are charged with handling the crisis, with response time as little as 12 hours, following an official request from the municipality. The SNS is managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Commissioner of Emergency Services Daniel Neaverth, Jr. added, “Disaster preparedness and the Strategic National Stockpile program is a continuous process, updating plans, assessing resources, and developing relationships. We are fortunate in Erie County to have a group of dedicated people working across jurisdictional boundaries to assure response and recovery is on the cutting edge.”

“Our priority regarding preparedness, regular drills, training and planning all contributed to the success of our SNS/LTAR review,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein. “This was a team effort and the importance of all departments working collaboratively resulted in the excellent score received.”

In assessing the County’s overall readiness and response in implementing procedures involving the SNS, reviewers evaluated performance in the following areas: planning, communications, coordination with partner agencies, security, logistics, dispensing of medications/medical supplies to the public, and training and exercise. Each area is a vital component in the County’s response to a crisis situation, and each is composed of multiple levels of planning and design.