Health Department announces September is National Preparedness Month

• This September: ‘A Time to Remember, A Time to Prepare’

Staff Report

This September, our nation marks the 10-year anniversary of 9/11. The Winnebago County Health Department (WCHD) has committed to participate in National Preparedness Month (NPM) in September, an event founded after 9/11 to increase awareness and participation in preparedness in the United States. This event is a nationwide, month-long effort hosted by the Ready Campaign and Citizen Corps, encouraging households, businesses and communities to prepare and plan for emergencies.

The Winnebago County Health Department wants to remind our community that by being prepared, in the event of an emergency, aids in being self-reliant for three days without response from police, fire or rescue. Preparedness is a shared responsibility; it takes a whole community.

Preparing can start with three important steps:

1. Get an emergency supply kit — For additional information emergency supply kit instructions, go to

2. Make a plan for what to do in an emergency.

3. Be informed about emergencies that could happen in your community, and identify sources of information in your community that will be helpful before, during and after an emergency.

Over the past seven years, the Winnebago County Health Department, along with 164 local public health departments across the country, has been nationally recognized as “Project Public Health Ready.” As local health departments nationwide work to protect the public from infectious disease outbreaks, bioterrorism, natural disasters, and other public health threats, the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) recognized Winnebago County Health Department for its ability to respond to public health emergencies. The first recognition was in 2004, with recertification taking place in 2009,” said Winnebago County Health Department’s Administrator Mike Bacon.

Project Public Health Ready (PPHR) is a unique partnership between NACCHO and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), provides comprehensive benchmarks developed specifically to promote preparedness at local and regional public health departments. To gain recognition, PPHR required Winnebago County Health Department to meet expectations of public health preparedness in three key areas: preparedness planning; workforce competency; and demonstration of all-hazards readiness through exercises or response to real events. The recognition confirms that Winnebago County Health Department has an emergency response plan in place, the plan is appropriately connected to other jurisdictional emergency response plans, agency staff members are trained, and the plan is exercised and used during public health and other community emergencies.

“In the past five years, Winnebago County has experienced flooding, tornadoes, blizzards and the H1N1 influenza outbreak. Through the efforts of our community and collaborative planning and response from county agencies, Winnebago County was able to mitigate the event, reduce the risk of loss, and swiftly recover,” said Winnebago County Health Department’s Public Health Emergency Response Coordinator Dan Reilly.

For more about the Winnebago County Health Department’s local emergency preparedness efforts, go to, or at (815) 720-4217. Information can also be found on WCHD’s Twitter and Facebook pages.

From the Sept. 21-27, 2011, issue

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