Hello and greetings from all of us at the Center! It’s hard to believe it’s almost 2016 - another year has come and almost gone.
We’ve accomplished a lot and have had a busy year—as I’m sure all of you have. We continue to acknowledge and appreciate the work you do and the vital role you play in the preparedness initiative in WV.
To recap a few highlights of the year… we responded to a train derailment/explosion, several incidents involving contaminants in our rivers and a green-Algae bloom that wouldn’t seem to go away. The world experienced the worst outbreak of Ebola in history and all states began revising their plans to prepare for a potential outbreak in the US. A number of travelers were monitored by state and local public health staff during the year that had returned from working or traveling overseas in areas with active disease. And, CTP was designated for the lead role for planning/response efforts, writing an emerging infectious disease (EID) plan and facilitating a state-wide EID tabletop exercise.
Preparedness officials across the state played in several disaster exercises, including an on-ground aircraft collision, a “towering inferno” high rise building fire, several regional healthcare coalition exercises, and a medical countermeasures exercise. Contingency planning for the 2019 World Boy Scout Jamboree is underway, and we unveiled the State’s first-ever access and functional needs mapping tool.
State and local public health partners successfully identified and trained with three radiological strike team strategically placed throughout the state. This enhances our health and medical capabilities for response to various radiation incidents, from a transportation accident to a radiological release by the Beaver Valley (PA) nuclear power plant.
As the year progressed, we prepared for a Presidential visit to Charleston, a hurricane (that we dodged), and a Papal visit to several US cities. And lastly, we acknowledged the 10-year anniversary of state’s Hurricane Katrina response…and the amazing support provided to a large number of impacted citizens of Louisiana.
Mostly what I’m really trying to say is, Thanks! Thanks to all of you, our partners, who work endlessly to help ensure the public’s health and safety. None of us operate in a vacuum and it takes all those partnerships and collaborations to protect the health and well-being of our citizens and visitors.
I hope you stay alert and vigilant throughout the holidays and into the New Year and enjoy these special times. Have a great holiday season and never forget to stay safe out there…and prepared!