Emergency Preparedness

The mission of the Gloucester County Emergency Preparedness Program is to protect our residents from natural and manmade public health emergencies through planning, education, disease surveillance, preparedness and emergency response coordination.

What is Gloucester County doing to prepare for a public health emergency?  

Planning

Gloucester is one of 21 LINCS agencies (Local Information Network & Communication Systems) in New Jersey.   As a LINCS agency we are responsible for the distribution of life saving antibiotics and other medication in response to a disease outbreak, biological or chemical attack.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requires LINCS agencies to develop plans to distribute this medication within 48 hours.  In Gloucester County we have plans to distribute medication at any of our 15 POD sites (Points of Distribution) throughout the county.

Training and Exercising

In order to test our plans the Gloucester County Emergency Preparedness Program conducts several exercises each year.  Often times these exercises include our emergency response partners like the Office of Emergency Management, EMS, law enforcement and local healthcare facilities.  We also include our trained volunteers called the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC).  Click here to learn more or register to become a member.  Emergency preparedness staff also maintains readiness by attending trainings like Incident Command Structure, CBRNE awareness, Emergency Risk Communication and American Red Cross Sheltering.

Points of Dispensing (POD’s)

In Gloucester County, a POD is very similar to a flu shot clinic.  In an emergency, however, additional steps need to be taken to ensure the dispensing area is safe and secure for our residents.  Like a flu clinic we will ask residents to fill out forms or be prepared to answer questions regarding allergies and existing medical conditions.  If the medication being dispensed is in pill form, we encourage one family member to pick up pills for the whole family.  If you know of someone who has mobility or transportation issues, we encourage you to pick up medication for those individuals.  If you would like to email or speak with someone in our Emergency Preparedness Program regarding POD planning, click on the contact button above.

First Responder & Fixed Facility Plans

The NJ Department of Health and Human Services requires each LINCS agency to establish plans to dispense medication to emergency personnel that may be exposed to a communicable disease while responding.  Our First Responder Plan has been tested in multiple full scale exercises.  First Responders may include EMS, law enforcement, fire fighters and critical infrastructure.

If it were necessary to establish a POD site in Gloucester County, simultaneous distribution to large businesses may also occur.  These businesses will dispense medication to their employees and their families.  This is known as the Fixed Facility Plan.  If you represent a business that employs more than 100 people and medical personnel is on site to dispense medication, your facility may be eligible to participate in this plan.  If you have questions about this plan or would like to enroll your facility contact:

Annmarie Ruiz
(856) 218-4131
aruiz@co.gloucester.nj.us

What can I do to prepare for an emergency?

Even though Gloucester County has plans to respond to a public health emergency, you need to take action to be prepared.  Simple steps like stockpiling food, water and medications make a big difference in managing your family during a crisis.  Click on Family Preparedness above to download toolkits and read about other important preparedness tips. Also see link below for preparing for disasters, hurricanes and floodwater.

http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/foodwater.asp