CDC Lauds Indiana County's Disaster Preparedness Efforts

Article excerpt

They've set up a field hospital and distributed more than 1,100 flu shots in a three-hour period.

Now Indiana County is being held up as a model to communities nationwide of how to properly plan for disaster.

The health and services subcommittee of the Indiana County Disaster Emergency Planing Committee was one of seven 2008 model communities selected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Terrorism Injuries: Information, Dissemination and Exchange Project, known as TIIDE.

"It's a great testimony to the folks that have done a lot of good work over the last three or four years," said Danny Sacco, chairman of the subcommittee. "We're not doing a lot of difficult things. We're not doing a lot of sophisticated things. We're doing a lot of good, basic, community planning."

Indiana County joins communities such as Orlando, Fla.; Danbury, Conn.; and the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area as model communities this year, said Dr. Brooke Lerner, a board member for the National Association of EMS Physicians, which is one of seven nongovernmental agencies that work under the CDC grant to promote best practices for disaster preparedness.

"We look for communities that are basically models for linking public health and the emergency care community," Lerner said. "It's that they've put in the time and created whatever groups or things that they need to actually be able to work together."

Sacco, who is the director of safety and security at Indiana Regional Medial Center, said the subcommittee comprises people from 30 health and human services agencies in the county -- from visiting nurses groups to personal care homes.

"We have such a great group of people that have embraced the idea of planning and the need for planning and the need for an entire community response when it comes to disasters and managing disasters. And we have a basic philosophy -- we want to do everything we can to take care of our own people in our community for as long as we can," Sacco said. …