NORTH GEORGIA HEALTH DISTRICT

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    NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

County will be the first in Georgia to hold such an event, which aims to help residents get better prepared in case of disasters

By MITCH TALLEY, Whitfield County Director of Communications

If a disaster hit Whitfield County tomorrow, would you be ready?

Less than a third of us could answer yes to that question now, based on a recent federal survey.

But that figure could change dramatically in the coming months, thanks to the Whitfield County Emergency Management Agency and several partners who announced today they will be sponsoring the first-ever Whitfield County’s PrepareAthon! in April.

In fact, Whitfield will become the first county in Georgia to hold such a PrepareAthon!, with three days of special events slated April 24-26 to increase community emergency preparedness and resilience through hazard-specific drills, group discussions, and exercises.

“The goal of Whitfield County’s PrepareAthon! is simple,” Whitfield County EMA Director Claude Craig said Monday morning during a press conference at the Dalton Fire Department on School Street to kick off the special event. “Build a more resilient community by increasing the number of individuals who understand which disasters could happen in their community, know what to do to be safe and mitigate damage, take action to increase their preparedness, and participate in community resilience planning.”

Also speaking at the press conference were Terry Thomas, Federal Emergency Management Agency Region IV Individual and Community Preparedness Division; Gary Kelley, Georgia EMA deputy director; Keith Stellman, meteorologist, National Weather Service, Peachtree City; and Patrick Core, chief meteorologist with Chattanooga’s WDEF-TV, which has agreed to partner with Whitfield EMA and promote the PrepareAthon! during its newscasts.

Whitfield PrepareAthon Logo med

Innovative, community-wide Emergency Preparedness Campaign to be announced

Dalton (GA) – The Whitfield County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) and Whitfield County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) remind members of the media they are encouraged to attend the Severe Weather Preparedness Week press conference on Monday, February 2, 2015 at 10:30 A.M. The press conference will be held at the Dalton Fire Department Headquarters at 404 School Street in Dalton.

 

Severe Weather Preparedness Week this year in Georgia is February 2 – 6, and the purpose of the press conference is to stress the urgent need for individuals and organizations to take action in preparing for emergencies. As a result, EMA director and LEPC chairman Claude Craig will announce an innovative, community-wide emergency preparedness campaign. Whitfield County will be the first county in Georgia to participate in this national campaign developed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that encourages local communities to promote awareness to action among its citizens, businesses, faith-based organizations, schools and non-profit organizations.

 

Officials from FEMA, GEMA, and National Weather Service are expected to speak at the press conference.

 

For more information about Severe Weather Preparedness Week, visit the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) website at www.ready.ga.gov.

North Georgia- Have you had your flu shot yet? Flu activity is high in Georgia and the peak of the flu season is still ahead. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to recommend that unvaccinated people get vaccinated*. While some of the viruses spreading this season are different from those in the vaccine, vaccination can still provide protection and might reduce severe outcomes such as hospitalization and death.

 

North Georgia Health District public health departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties have flu vaccine and no appointment is necessary. Please contact your local health department for more information (each county health department phone number, address and hours of operation can be found by clicking on our LOCATIONS tab up above).

 

The CDC also is reminding the public that people with high risk factors who get flu symptoms should contact their healthcare provider to be evaluated for possible treatment with flu antiviral drugs. It’s very important that antiviral drugs be used early to treat hospitalized patients, people with severe flu illness, and people who are at higher risk of developing flu complications based on their age or underlying medical conditions.

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*Reference: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2014-2015.htm

 "All six counties of the [North Georgia] health district participated and all met the objectives for each individual area of the plan." - Robby Westbrook, Deputy Director of Cherokee County Sheriff's Office Division of Emergency Management

IMG 20150108 105524 009-2-webDalton, GAThe local Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) Transportation Security Plan was tested on Thursday, January 8 in a functional exercise led by staff of North Georgia Health District 1-2 of the Georgia Department of Public Health and Georgia State Patrol. Emergency Management Agency (EMA) officials, law enforcement agents, and public health staff in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties participated in the exercise by standing up each county's Emergency Operations Center (EOC). (Pictured: David Huskey of N. GA Health Dist. and GA State Patrol Lt. Don Stultz collaborate during SNS Transportation Security Plan Functional Exercise, Jan. 8, 2015.)

"The Strategic National Stockpile, or SNS, is a federally maintained cache of medical assets that would be available to local health districts if assets needed to respond to a public health crisis become depleted within the state," said David Huskey, emergency preparedness director for the North Georgia Health District. "For years, we have worked with our community partners to develop our plan for receiving these assets and distributing them to local temporary points of dispensing. It’s necessary to actually exercise the plan to test its strengths and weaknesses."

It is important to exercise each part of a plan, according to Robby Westbrook, deputy director of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management and facilitator of the exercise. Westbrook said, “Each aspect of even the best written plan should be tested to make sure everything comes together in the way it’s spelled out. This exercise went very well. All six counties of the health district participated and all met the objectives for each individual area of the plan."