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Public Health Agencies are Ready to Mobilize Medical Supplies

Contact:          Jim Gangl, 218-725-5222

                       Jim Skoog, 218-725-5240

                       St. Louis County Public Health & Human Services

 

(Fourth in a series of six stories)

 

Ready To Mobilize Medical Supplies

         

How northeastern Minnesota organizations have been preparing for emergency situations

 

     Recent publicity in the media brings up the question, “How ready are we in the case of a major medical emergency?”  There is a national system set up to mobilize emergency medical supplies quickly for a wide variety of emergencies, such as an anthrax terrorist attack or the SARS epidemic a few years ago.  Locally, a comprehensive plan is in place so these emergency supplies can be distributed throughout the region when needed. 

     County and tribal public health have worked together with northeastern Minnesota hospitals, clinics, local emergency planners, emergency medical services, Red Cross, law enforcement, military and human services agencies to prepare for all hazards.  Public Health has identified  distribution locations.  Pharmacists and medical personnel have been recruited and trained.  Volunteer networks are being set up to help with organizing, setting up medical assistance locations and directing traffic.  Emergency messages will be relayed to the media so if antibiotics or vaccines are recommended, directions can be provided to the public.

 

     Medical stockpiles in the U.S.  are stored in strategic locations, so when a major disaster strikes, the supplies can be delivered to any area in the country within twelve hours of a state’s request.  If the incident requires additional pharmaceuticals and/or medical supplies, they will be shipped to arrive within 24 to 36 hours.  These supplies include antibiotics, chemical antidotes, antitoxins, life-support medications and other medical/surgical items.  Any medicines or medical supplies will be free so as many people as possible will receive protection.

 

     In case of any emergency event, always listen to your local radio or television station for messages on appropriate actions for you and your family.  For more information go the Northeast Minnesota regional website at www.NEMNBePrepared.net or contact your nearest St. Louis County Public Health office in Ely, Duluth, Hibbing or Virginia for the "Be Prepared" fact sheet.


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