Hamilton County Public Health collaborates with Emergency Services for bio-emergencies

The Hamilton County Public Health Nursing Service (HCPHNS) in New York heads up any necessary emergency response in the event of a biological outbreak strictly related to public health.

The organization also partners with Emergency Services for the county until the state is able to get involved.

"We're less concerned about terrorism than we are infections," public health director for HCPHNS Susan Franko said. "As a county we have an Emergency Services Coordinator and we usually go through him. They have a stockpile of PPE (personal protective equipment) and things like that, and we do training as a county."

In addition to coordinating and assisting with response efforts, HCPHNS plays a key role at the community level in empowering the public to prevent diseases from spreading in the first place.

"We have Facebook and we post a lot of messages on prevention, especially for flu, proper handwashing, things like that." Franko said. "We put out public service announcements all the time."

Staying prepared also means that residents have plans in place to protect their families in the event that emergency responders are unavailable, roads are closed or supplies are limited.

"We give them information on keeping your home safe, what you should stockpile, having a spot to meet, those sort of general resources," Franko said.

Franko has served as the public health director for HCPHNS for the last year. She holds a degree in public health and has prior experience in the areas of hospital quality and risk management.