The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) designated the Rockland County Department of Health as “Public Health Ready.” The determination means the county agency meets national standards set for the ability to respond to public health emergencies.
County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef announced on Wednesday the department’s achievement in meeting the national standards.
“These standards were attained in three key areas: preparedness planning, workforce competency, and demonstration of all-hazards readiness through exercises or a response to a real event,” said Vanderhoef. “With this award, the Rockland County Department of Health joins nearly 300 local health departments across the country that have been honored for their agencies’ preparedness efforts through Project Public Health Ready.”
Project Public Health Recognition (PPHR) requires member health departments to have a comprehensive and coordinated emergency response plan in place, have trained staff members and that the agency exercises its plan and uses it during public health emergencies. Project Public Health Ready is a partnership between NACCHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a public health preparedness program that assesses local health department capacity to plan for, respond to, and recover from public health emergencies.
While the recognition covers the health department staff, County Health Commissioner Dr. Joan Facelle said the public plays a critical role in any emergency.
Dr. Facelle said, “Still, the most important factor in determining whether we succeed in responding to an emergency will be the actions of our citizens in advance planning, cooperating with authorities, and helping each other.”
The high level of preparedness must be maintained.
Director of Emergency Preparedness/Public Health Junie C. Delizo, said, “We will continue to improve our ability to quickly and effectively respond to any public health crisis in Rockland County.”
“All disasters strike locally, and local health departments are a critical part of any community’s first response to disease outbreaks, emergencies, and acts of terrorism,” said Robert Pestronk, NACCHO Executive Director. “NACCHO commends the Rockland County Department of Health for being a model of public health emergency preparedness.”