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Local Emergency Preparedness Efforts Focus on Community-Based Organizations
Date:2/29/2008

Public Health Emergency is the Focus of Scenario-Based Exercise- Hurricane

Katrina Community Responder Thomas Ray to Deliver Opening Keynote on

Mobilizing Faith-Based and Other Community-Based Organizations

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health's "Preparing Our Communities for Emergencies" workshop for community-based organizations took place today at the Japanese American National Museum in downtown Los Angeles. The scenario-based exercise was designed to instruct participants on their organization's role and responsibilities during an emergency situation and how they would assist community members.

Hurricane Katrina community responder, Thomas Ray delivered the keynote address detailing his role during the hurricane aftermath. As an ordained minister and a licensed construction contractor, he is recognized for his efforts in helping turn an abandoned Kmart shopping center into a functioning overflow hospital for Katrina evacuees.

"Public health is a priority before, during and following a major disaster," said Jonathan Fielding, MD, MPH, Public Health Director and County Health Officer. "Our goal is to bring community based organizations together for better coordination. We all can make a difference even before an emergency hits home by encouraging preparedness and prevention partnerships. Our goal and hope, is that these partnerships will help LA County to better respond to our citizens in the event of a major emergency."

One of the potential health emergencies discussed at the workshop is the threat of a pandemic flu.

A pandemic flu has occurred three times in the last century (1918, 1957 and 1968) and can take place in any flu season. Although it is difficult to predict when the next pandemic will occur or how severe it will be, public education and outreach is critical to prevention efforts. Health experts predict an infection rate of 25 to 50 percent of the
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SOURCE Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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