Making Preparation To Receive Possible Hurricane Evacuees
Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) has begun planning and preparation for the possible arrival of evacuees from hurricane impacted areas. DCHHS is readying its resources and has placed the Dallas County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) and the Dallas County Medical Operations Center (DMOC) on stand-by to respond to needs that may arise. The DMOC is comprised of representatives of local hospitals and Metropolitan Medical Response System member cities. It is an outgrowth of the successful joint response of medical professionals during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
“Dallas County Health and Human Services is working with the State of Texas and our municipal and community partners to coordinate our response efforts during a possible evacuation,” stated Zachary Thompson, DCHHS Director. “Members of our staff, MRC, and DMOC are standing at the ready to provide medical assessments and assistance, and to monitor sanitation conditions of temporary shelters, and health issues of possible evacuees,” Thompson continued. DCHHS Public Health Preparedness staff, along with representatives of local, regional and state emergency management, public health, hospital preparedness and education agencies from across the state of Texas are conducting daily conference calls to discuss how and when hurricane preparedness plans would be implemented.
DCHHS Environmental Health and Epidemiology Assessment Team are conducting site visits of potential shelter facilities within Dallas County as a part of its shelter surveillance program. During the response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, DCHHS and its medical partners instituted an on-going shelter surveillance program to monitor sanitary conditions in the shelters and to immediately detect any communicable disease among evacuees to avert a possible disease outbreak through early intervention.
“The lessons we learned during prior hurricane responses will allow DCHHS and our partners to work in collaboration to ensure that there will not be a breakdown in public health for either evacuees in shelters or the residents of Dallas County,” Thompson said
Public health is responsible for protecting the health of the entire community. DCHHS Public Health and Preparedness division works to 1) prevent epidemics and the spread of disease; 2) protect against environmental hazards; 3) prevent injuries; 4) promote and encourage healthy behaviors and mental health; 5) respond to disasters and assist communities in recovery; and 6) assure the quality and accessibility of health services.