10/9/14: EC Public Health Emergency Preparedness Score Increases Again

Modified: January 23, 2015 3:19pm

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Annual Centers for Disease Control Review Raises Score to 97%, Up from 95% in 2013

ERIE COUNTY, NY— Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz today noted the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s (“CDC”) release of the 2014 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. Conducted by the CDC, the review showed that the County’s average score across twelve functional areas has risen to 97%, up from 95% just a year ago. Importantly, the County’s average score has increased for the third year in a row and is now 32% higher than it was in 2011.

“My administration continues to place a strong emphasis on planning, training, and maintaining readiness in the event of a pandemic or bioterrorism event. The near-perfect score we received shows that our focus is in the right place and our personnel are top-notch. When I took office as county executive in 2012 the County’s 2011 score was a 65%, or failing. We can never accept failure when it comes to protecting the public. That is why I made it a priority of my administration to increase the County’s score from failing to an ‘A+’. In just three years we have seen a dramatic increase in preparedness, from 65% in 2011 to 97% this year,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “There is a constant need to stay current with developments in our area, our nation, and around the globe to be ready for a possible public health emergency and to act effectively if something should happen, whether it be an outbreak of Ebola or an act of bioterrorism. This score is going up again thanks to the many people who are dedicating their careers to protecting the public, and I want to thank them for their commitment and for their continued vigilance in protecting the residents of Erie County.”

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. Being prepared for a public health emergency, such as a communicable disease outbreak, is a priority.”

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 CDC.

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.

For more information:

On the Erie County Department of Emergency Services, visit   http://www2.erie.gov/emergencyservices/

On the Erie County Health Department, visit   http://www2.erie.gov/health/