Contact: Jim Gangl, 218-725-5222,
Jim Skoog, 218-725-5240,
St. Louis County Public Health & Human Services
(First in a series of six stories that will be submitted weekly starting July 6, 2006)
Northeastern Minnesota Develops Emergency Plans
How northeastern Minnesota organizations have been preparing for emergency situations.
In northeastern Minnesota it’s easy to feel like we’re far removed from the threat of bioterrorism, chemical terrorism or other kinds of terrorism. Across the country, many state, county and tribal health agencies have been working on enhancing emergency response plans. In our area, local and state public health has been working with the Northeast Minnesota Regional Hospital Emergency Preparedness Group. Other participating organizations include medical clinics, local emergency planners, emergency medical services, Red Cross, law enforcement, military and human services departments. "This joint planning will help result in faster, more coordinated responses in case of bioterrorism, chemical emergencies or natural disasters," according to Jim Gangl, St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services Emergency Preparedness Coordinator.
Many kinds of emergencies can include a threat to health. The threat of bioterrorism has caused the initiation of nation-wide emergency readiness planning. A bioterrorism attack could include diseases such as smallpox, anthrax or plague. Naturally occurring public health emergencies could include infectious disease outbreaks such as pandemic influenza, SARS-like illnesses or bacterial meningitis. In our region the emergencies that we're most familiar with are natural disasters, such as tornadoes, wind storms, lightning storms, blizzards, forest fires, floods and ice storms.
Future reports in this series will explain how agencies are preparing and how families can prepare for emergency situations.
During any emergency event, always listen to your local radio or television station for advice on appropriate actions for you and your family.
For more information, go the Northeast Minnesota regional family preparedness website at or contact your nearest St. Louis County Public Health office in Ely, Duluth, Hibbing or Virginia for the "Be Prepared" fact sheet.