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EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS

WILL COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT

Will County Health Department Emergency Preparedness And Response Program

Local health departments across the nation have always been responsible for prevention the spread of reportable diseases. Since 2002, through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness program and the IL Department of Public Health, Will County Health Department (WCHD) is among 94 local health departments in IL to receive funding for emergency preparedness. These funds allow WCHD the capacity and capability to effectively respond to a public health event, including biological emergencies like anthrax, infectious disease outbreaks, and natural disasters.

WCHD Emergency Preparedness & Response program works with many federal, state and local governments and private agencies to provide a quick response to potential public health emergencies. WCHD is responsible for planning and preparing to quickly and safely distribute medicine during a public health emergency to the residents of Will County. These medicines, supplied by the government from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), may keep people from getting sick. In order to quickly dispense medications in Will County, the health department has planned and prepared to open Points of Dispensing (PODs). A POD is a place that will be used to dispense medicines to a large number of people.

Bioterrorism Preparedness

Coordinating the Countywide Response to a Biological Attack Bioterrorism is a form of terrorism using biologic agents that are harmful to humans. This form of terrorism involves the deliberate release of viruses, bacteria, or other germs (agents) used to cause illness or death in people, animals, or plants. Biological agents can be spread through the air, through water, or in food. Terrorists may prefer to use biological agents because they can be extremely difficult to detect and do not cause illness for several hours to several days.

The Emergency Preparedness and Response division of the Will County Health Department plays the leading role in coordinating the countywide response to a real or potential biological attack. To this end, our organization works with local first responders, hospitals, schools, and government agencies to establish protocols for investigation of and response to any suspicious communicable disease outbreak or potential biological attack. In the event of an actual biological attack, the Health Department will coordinate a countywide response with the above agencies, provide updated information to the general public, and facilitate medical management of exposed persons. Planning by government agencies however, no matter how competent, is no substitute for enhanced citizen awareness of the dangers of bioterrorism. The links and information on this page are designed to help every citizen become aware of the signs that a bioterror attack is imminent or occurring.

Medical Reserve Corps

In order to meet the public health needs during critical events, the Will County Health Department, in collaboration with the Will County Emergency Management Agency, has formed a Medical Reserve Corps and we are actively recruiting new members. We welcome all kinds of volunteers with medical and non-medical skills.

Healthcare professionals, such as nurses, pharmacists, medical assistants, and physicians are needed as well as people who can serve as registration clerks, health educators, interpreters, etc.