Over 115 members participated in the Region C Healthcare and Safety Preparedness Coalition tabletop exercise held August 8, at West Georgia Technical College in Waco, GA. The tabletop exercise, a meeting to discuss a simulated emergency, was sponsored and conducted by the coalition and focused on county, community, and organizational preparedness and response to pandemic influenza.

The coalition, one of fourteen in Georgia, comprises Bartow, Carroll, Chattooga, Coweta, Floyd, Haralson, Heard, and Polk counties. It is funded by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) within the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. ASPR leads the nation in preventing, preparing for, and responding to the adverse health effects of public health emergencies and disasters.

Recognizing that county, community, or organizational plans alone may not be sufficient to take care of the healthcare needs during and after a disaster, the coalitions were formed to help bridge gaps and improve healthcare preparedness for disasters through a regional approach to joint planning designed to create a more prepared and resilient healthcare system.

“When a disaster hits a community or a region, the entire healthcare system will be impacted and must respond,” said Emergency Preparedness Director for the Georgia Department of Public Health Northwest Health District Shaun Brand. “All healthcare organizations, from the largest hospital to a small community health center, will need to work together in a coordinated fashion to effectively respond to the disaster and work towards recovery.”

The coalition is open to hospitals, EMS providers, emergency management, public safety (fire, police), primary care providers, community health centers, public health, nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, dialysis centers, pharmacists, hospice, long term care providers, mental health providers, schools, specialty service providers, support service providers, home health, federal entities, non-governmental entities, and special interest groups.

Individuals or organizations interested in joining the Region C Healthcare and Safety Preparedness Coalition should contact Emergency Preparedness Healthcare Coalition Facilitator for District 4 Public Health, Pam Masters, at [email protected] or the Northwest Health District’s Shaun Brand at 706-802-5624 or [email protected] For more information about the coalition, visit https://regionccoalition.wordpress.com