Connectedness key to Wyoming Department of Health's disaster response

The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) stays heavily connected to counties, reservations and medical organizations across the state to achieve a streamlined response in the event of an emergency.

"A successful bio-preparedness response is a team effort, achieved by working with a variety of partners in planning, exercising and executing a response to disease outbreaks, acts of terrorism and natural disasters," WDH Public Information Officer Kim Deti said.

This connectedness is exercised in multiple areas, such as personnel, resources and procedures. The WDH has an impressive line up of trained experts, including epidemiologists, public health laboratory scientists and emergency preparedness professionals. Additionally, each public health office receives funding to maintain an inventory of necessary supplies.

"The Hospital Preparedness Program has provided grant funding to healthcare organizations for the purpose of building caches of personal protective equipment along with proper use training, as well as pharmaceutical supplies," Deti said.

WDH scored 100 percent in its most recent Strategic National Stockpile Technical Assistance Review. This ensures that the department is able to "...provide medical countermeasures such as vaccines, antiviral drugs, antibiotics and antitoxins, and medical materiel for hospitals to support local jurisdictions when an incident exceeds their capacity," Deti said.

The Wind River Indian Reservation and each county across the state also have Public Health Response Coordinators. Deti said their role is to coordinate with hospitals, county health officers, public health nursing, emergency managers and other local partners to keep residents prepared for any type of emergency, whether it's an attack or an outbreak.