The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health today hosted a workshop, titled "Managing a Public Health Crisis at your Doorstep," designed to educate elected officials and city managers to effectively respond to public health emergencies. More than one hundred participants attended the workshop from cities throughout the county.
"Prepare now, so you know what to do when a public health emergency strikes your city, and television cameras and reporters are at your doorstep," said Don Knabe, Chairman and Supervisor, Fourth District, Board of Supervisors Los Angeles County. "Los Angeles County is proud to serve as the emergency preparedness partner for the 88 cities and unincorporated areas that may, at any time, find themselves affected by a natural or man-made disaster. Workshops such as this one provide an opportunity for information to be shared and knowledge to be gained before an emergency happens."
The workshop covered valuable tools available to cities from Public Health such as the development of continuity of operations plans in case of a pandemic; chemical, biological, or bioterrorism incident; or the aftermath of a natural disaster that may have public health consequences. It also covered ways in which cities may develop critical partnerships now with local governments, law enforcement agencies, fire departments and emergency medical services in the event that public health services, such as medication, need to be delivered rapidly and efficiently.
"The new flu A H1N1 outbreak demonstrated the critical role that emergency response plans play in protecting the public's health and safety. These types of incidents, and others such as earthquakes or fires, occur without warning," said Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, Director of Public Health and Health Officer. "It is important that government leaders have a way to communicate to each other as to what their roles and responsibilities will be and what their constituents' unique needs will be during a public health emergency."
"This workshop illustrates the strong collaborative partnership of public officials to coordinate important matters involving the public health of the communities of Los Angeles," said John Fernandes, Administrator, Los Angeles County, Chief Executive Office, Office of Emergency Management.
The Just Be Ready: Prepare Together campaign, which encourages all residents to take proactive steps in preparing for any potential disaster, was also on display. Educational materials about flu prevention and building an emergency kit were available in multiple languages.
For more information on how to Just Be Ready for a potential disaster, please visit the Public Health website at: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/eprp/media/index.htm.
The Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of the nearly 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Public Health comprises more than 4,000 employees and an annual budget exceeding $750 million. To learn more about Public Health and the work we do, please visit http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.