Local Health Dept. Nearly Doubles Bioterroristm Preparedness Score
City-County Health doubles bioterrorism preparedness score At a glance The Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department received exceptional scores following an assessment of its bioterrorism emergency preparedness.
By Cat Smith CHEYENNE -- If a mass biological attack descended on the Capital City today, residents can rest assure that the Cheyenne- Laramie County Health Department will be right on it.
That's thanks, in part, to an intensive and strategic training the department has undergone in the past three years.
John Kelley, public health response coordinator for the department, said a recent review by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave its bioterrorism readiness initiative a 97 percent score. That score has steadily climbed from a 58 percent mark three years ago.
Kelley said the CDC became increasingly aware of the need for medical countermeasures against biological attacks following the 9- 11 terrorist attacks.
The agency mobilized to develop medication stockpiles at undisclosed locations throughout the nation and went on to create a Strategic National Stockpile.
To ensure that the nation, as well as individual states, were ready to access the stockpile, a Cities Readiness Initiative was established. Cheyenne is one of 72 cities and metropolitan areas across the nation participating in the initiative.
"Cheyenne is a critical infrastructure area. We have the interstates, airport, the Capitol, refineries, fertilizer plants and F.E. Warren Air Force Base. All of those make us high risk," Kelley said. This was Kelley's fourth time being reviewed by the CDC on how City-County Health, in conjunction with other local agencies, were trained. …