Friday, September 23, 2005
Emergency planning is underway at Carlisle's Board of Health
Board of Health (BOH) agent Linda Fantasia was fresh from a training session on Incident Command for Public Health organized by the Massachusetts Departments of Fire Service and Public Health when she spoke with the Mosquito on Tuesday about this aspect of emergency preparedness in Carlisle.
Fantasia said that towns across the country have been receiving training in incident command planning, which gives towns a template for how to organize the chains of authority and communication during a large-scale emergency. For example, depending on the type of emergency, the head of the fire, police, or Board of Health might direct the emergency response.
A case where the BOH would play a lead role would be during an epidemic or other medical threat where the board must be ready to run an Emergency Clinic to dispense medication. If such a clinic is ever needed, the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) is to deliver the medicine within 12 hours of notifying the town of the emergency. The BOH then has the goal of delivering medication to 80% of the town residents within two days, and reaching all residents within three days.
Such a mobilization would require a lot more staff than the board possesses, and part of the planning is to develop a call-down list of volunteers. The specific tasks needed have already been defined, and Fantasia has sent letters to the churches and various community groups asking for volunteers. For instance, she said people would be needed to help with paperwork, triage and administering shots. Because most doctors and nurses would be busy at hospitals during such an emergency, the BOH is seeking volunteers who are retirees, and others such as dentists or veterinarians who are qualified to administer shots. The BOH will hold training for the volunteers in the coming months, and there will also be "just in time" training given if an emergency clinic is ever held. The BOH is developing a list of general supplies that should be stocked in addition to those to be provided by SNS.
The BOH emergency plans will be discussed at the Selectmen's meeting on Tuesday, September 27.
With help from a grant from the Centers for Disease Control, the BOH will be mailing flyers to residents this fall giving advice on how families can better prepare for disasters.
© 2005 The