Arizona county regularly reviews response plan against bio-threats

The Mohave County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) in Arizona conducts annual reviews of its countermeasure plan for use against bio-threats, Bruce Leeming, emergency-response coordinator of the state's Office of Bio Defense, Emergency Preparedness and Response, recently said to BioPrepWatch.

"We conduct exercises every year in order to evaluate our overall preparedness, response and recovery (ability) to threats and outbreaks," Leeming said. "Based on After Action Reports from the exercises, we make changes to our plans to address any areas of improvement that were identified."

The MCDPH's operational plans include several steps for the department to take in the event of a biological emergency. Leeming said the first step is to assess the health impact that could occur as a result of the biological threat or outbreak.

Once this is complete, the department can recommend specific actions to mitigate the threat. These actions are coordinated with other agencies throughout the county and state for enhanced response. "The Mohave County Department of Public Health coordinates preparedness activities with county emergency management, the state health department and local partner agencies to ensure we are working together to respond to health threats or outbreaks," Leeming said.

Once the department has made an accurate assessment of the threat level, established communication with other response agencies and provided recommendations for response, it can take action. The focus is on "implementing the appropriate plans and action to reduce the impact of the threat or outbreak on our communities," Leeming said.