Allegan County Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coordinator:
Kathy Yonkers-Wright, RDH, MS | Email
Assure that Allegan County Public Health Department is fully prepared to respond, in a timely and comprehensive manner, to any public health emergency and threat.
- Ensure that there is an appropriate identification and response to public health emergencies and bioterrorism events.
- Secure a competent public health, healthcare, and emergency response workforce exists in our jurisdiction.
- Confirm that the Allegan County Health Department’s policies will support an effective and coordinated response to a public health emergency.
- Verify that State, Local and community partnerships are mobilized- to promptly identify problems, to coordinate a response to public health emergencies and to assure adequate health care for affected individuals.
These web-pages are designed to keep Allegan County’s residents informed of public health emergency preparation activities and available resources. The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on USA soil and the following Anthrax bioterrorism event made the local public health departments aware of their need to expand their public emergency response capability. While the traditional role of local public health departments has been to handle infectious disease outbreaks of natural acquired diseases, the continued threat of bioterrorism has expanded their scope of response planning.
The federal government has allocated funds to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the purpose of increasing national public health preparedness as well as increasing the ability to respond to emergency situations. A portion of this funding has been granted to the states. In Michigan, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) has used CDC emergency preparedness grants to create a new division focusing specifically on emergency planning, called the Office of Public Health Preparedness, and to enhance surveillance, epidemiological, and laboratory capacity at the state level.
The MDCH has hired eight regional epidemiologists who serve the respective counties in eight emergency planning districts in Michigan. In addition, MCHD has provided grant funding to local health jurisdictions to hire emergency preparedness coordinators to coordinate local level emergency response planning.
The Allegan County Health Department, Public Health Emergency Preparedness Section has been developed to provide an organized and coordinated response to any natural or human-caused public emergency which contains and actual or potential public health hazard, including communicable disease outbreaks, environmental sanitation hazards, emergencies involving toxic and hazardous materials, and other chemical, biological and radiological incidents.
Our section focuses on reducing the public health threats from infectious diseases, natural disasters, and terrorist acts, such as those caused by chemical and biological agents. The Allegan County Health Department actively collaborates with local, regional, state, and federal agencies to prepare for and respond to incidents that threaten public health. We work closely with Allegan County Emergency Management, the District 5 Medical Response Coalition, and other Emergency Preparedness committees to ensure a coordinated, effective response to any emergency. All residents need to be prepared to sustain themselves for a minimum of 72 hours for any possible community emergency. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is one resource for assisting citizens. You will also find valuable local information on the Allegan County's Emergency Management.