County emergency planning underway

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 4, 2007

LINDEN &8212; In the second meeting of the Marengo County Emergency Planning Group, consisting of eight different community groups, the main focus was preparation for an impending pandemic flu.

One concern brought up in the meeting was with federal funding and how it would be distributed if an outbreak were to occur. Adams said funds were usually distributed according to the population, and an area like Marengo County will have less funding than others.

Demopolis Director of Public Safety Jeff Manuel said it could be three to five days after other areas before Marengo County would even be considered for some FEMA assistance and supplies.

In order to combat this, Adams said they are in the process of stockpiling supplies for use by the county in case of a pandemic.

Demopolis Fire Chief Ron Few said, in his experience, there are never enough supplies to go around in emergency situations.

Another concern brought up by the group was controlling travel and isolating those who may be infected with the flu and could potentially infect others. If a pandemic breaks, Adams said, it will be important to coordinate different healthcare agencies to determine which people could be cared for at home and which cases would be dealt with in area healthcare facilities.

To begin working on logistics of a pandemic outbreak, the health department has organized a free flu vaccination at the Theo Ratliff Center on Oct. 10 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The clinic will also be used as an exercise to determine how many people can be vaccinated in a day.

The group, which consists of health departments, first responders, businesses, the Emergency Management Agency, government, communication, healthcare and faith-based organizations, will continue to meet at bi-monthly meetings and discuss these issues, Adams said.

If you would like more information on pandemic flu, www.pandemicflu.gov