The traditional role of local public health, in Connecticut and across the country, is changing. Public Health has been added to the list of emergency responders. Eastern Highlands Health District is prepared and ready to respond to any public health emergency such as a natural disaster, an act of terrorism, or a disease outbreak.
EHHD has completed its state-mandated Emergency Response Plans. Through the development of these plans, EHHD is engaged with multiple local and regional partners to ensure that critical resources will be coordinated efficiently and effectively in the event of a large-scale emergency.
EHHD continues to update plans, and conduct training on the use of emergency plans, to strengthen the public health infrastructure in our communities. The Public Health Emergency Preparedness Plan for the Eastern Highlands Health District can be a helpful document for all residents to be familiar with in the event of an emergency.
Eastern Highlands Health District has also developed a Pandemic Influenza Operations Plan. The Plan contains general guidance and information that serves as a reference for the District in responding to an Influenza outbreak such as the H1N1 virus. This plan was used extensively to guide operations during the influenza outbreak in 2009. Residents are encouraged to review this document and develop their own emergency plans.
The Health District relies heavily on community volunteers to carry out its response role in an emergency. The District has depended on a dedicated group of volunteer Public Health Reservists to use their medical or support skills to assist the staff in emergencies. Volunteer physicians, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, psychiatrists and psychologists and veterinarians as well as a number of average citizens, without any medical background, have joined together to help their neighbors during a time of need.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health has encouraged local health departments and districts to expand their use of community volunteers. Eastern Highlands Health District has answered this call by developing two options for volunteers. Volunteers can now choose to serve as Public Health Reservists, remaining inactive until called upon to respond, only during a Public Health Emergency.
Now, volunteers will have an additional opportunity to serve in the Eastern Highlands Health District – Medical Reserve Corps – an active volunteer organization that serves a primary role during emergencies, meets regularly for training, engages in community projects such as flu clinics, health fairs and emergency training for our citizens and qualifies volunteers for deployment anywhere in Connecticut during an emergency. For more information go to Volunteer Now!