Ventura County Group Prepares for Bioterrorism, Disasters
The Ventura County Star today examines local health agencies' efforts to prepare for potential bioterrorist attacks and other disasters. The Ventura County Public Health Department has established a five-member team -- made up of a nurse, a doctor, an administrative assistant, a public relations expert and a public health expert -- to consider possible management plans and prepare "massive education campaigns." The disaster management unit will be in charge of ensuring medical help for everyone who needs it in the event of any disaster, including earthquakes or bioterrorist attacks. The group will begin educating and training doctors and nurses from local hospitals, managed care organizations and private practices. In addition, the county's first responders, including firefighters, police officers and the Sheriff's Department, will receive training. The group also will distribute pamphlets, and possibly hold public meetings to increase community awareness of some diseases and their effects. According to Julie Frey, the leader of the disaster management unit, the group's efforts are all part of an "evolving plan" that should be completed this fall. "[T]his is not a plan we're just going to ... keep on a shelf in case of an emergency. We're going to continue to work on it," Frey said (Alessi, Ventura County Star, 9/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.