The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department has been recognized by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) for its ability to plan for, respond to, and recover from public health emergencies. The Health Department demonstrated these capabilities by meeting the comprehensive benchmarks required by Project Public Health Ready (PPHR), a unique partnership between NACCHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Health Department joins a cohort of more than 520 local health departments across the country that have been distinguished for excellence in preparedness through PPHR.
“Health Department staff constantly practice basic skills, review emergency plans, and coordinate with community partners to prepare for large or small scale disasters,” says Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Maegan Kerr, “We will continue to improve our ability to quickly and effectively respond to any public health crisis in Hamilton County.”
PPHR recognition confirms that a thorough and coordinated emergency response plan is in place, and that staff have the training to protect the health of the community during an emergency. Local health departments undergo a rigorous peer review process to assess their ability to meet a set of national standards for public health preparedness. These standards align with federal government requirements and other national best practices. This is the Health Department’s second recognition in this program since joining PPHR membership in 2014.
Several notable crisis responses by the Health Department in recent years were the April 2011 tornadoes, the May 2013 Patten Towers fire, and the May 2018 Hepatitis A outbreak, which recently has begun to wane. Health Department staff also conduct annual skills training to prepare for an evacuation of residents around the Sequoyah Nuclear Plant in the unlikely event that an incident should occur there.
The Health Department would also like to recognize its many government, non-profit, and private partners who play vital roles in community emergency preparedness. Our community is stronger and more resilient because of these relationships.
For more information about the Emergency Preparedness program at the Health Department, visit their website at Health.HamiltonTN.org, or call (423) 209-8074.