County official in charge of emergency preparedness, response

Like many jurisdictions, Clinton County, New York, has a Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan in place to deal with a wide range of threats.

The Clinton County Health Department's Public Health Nurse II, Peggy LaBombard, is responsible for managing a facet of this known as the Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan.

The plan prepares for possible crises such as outbreaks of influenza, smallpox and anthrax. Measures such as quarantine and isolation play a role, as well as procedures for accessing Strategic National Stockpile Point of Dispensing locations to distribute medicine and medical supplies when they run short locally.

"I bring all of the diverse experience I’ve accumulated over a long career and use it every day to help prepare my community for the unexpected," LaBombard -- a nurse for 27 years in the Navy, at an elementary school and in other environments -- said. "It is an extremely rewarding position to be involved in; the hard work pays off when we see families who are able to shelter in place because they have the tools necessary to do so, and when the community comes together to help out others in times of distress."

LaBombard said the department keeps residents updated and educated through regular outreach; the Plan 9 program, with nine steps to being prepared; and NY Alert, which sends email and phone notifications, a service LaBombard fervently supports. "It is quite comprehensive and a great tool that we encourage everyone to sign up for," LaBombard said.

LaBombard said emergency preparedness is an ongoing task, from  engineering countermeasures to educating the public. "Of course, there is always more to do -- more people to reach, more information to give," LaBombard said. "No one will ever be prepared for every situation, but we try to give the foundation to every citizen of our community, our county, our region."