AZ county keeping close watch on Ebola situation

Even though Navajo County in Arizona is a relatively rural region, emergency management staff members are collaborating with the health department to watch for Ebola cases in the area.

“We are taking a proactive approach in watching what happens in Texas with the patient there, and making sure to go over our plans and procedures now to make sure that we don’t have the same issues that they’ve felt there,” Catrina Roe, a staff member with Navajo County Emergency Management, said during a recent interview. “We’re going over plans, making sure that our plans are current and up-to-date.”

The responsibility doesn’t rest with emergency management staff alone, however. Roe encourages residents to stay involved and updated through the county’s website,

“We put out as much information on weather or pending emergencies as we get through vetted information, so … it’s quality, confirmed details,” Roe said.

Communication is a two-way street, so if residents have information they can provide related to emergencies, the county welcomes it. Roe also suggests residents have a family plan established in advance along with a ready kit. The kit should contain supplies to sustain the entire family, including pets, for a minimum of 72 hours; longer is even better. 

While biological outbreaks aren’t a huge concern in the remote region, natural disasters do pose risks.

“The highest risk we have currently is wildfire, drought and flooding,” Roe said. “We have emergency operations that are a team that meets monthly to discuss upcoming seasonal disasters, such as wildfires (and) winter storms. We coordinate with the other agencies throughout the county as well as the region to prepare for disasters.”

The team also takes part in training exercises together to keep plans and responses fresh for when disasters strike.