Michigan's District Health Department 4 prepared for any emergencies

Michigan's District Health Department 4 (DHD4) is prepared to handle just about any health emergency.

“Anything of a biological nature would be our main response role,” Matthew Radocy, the emergency services coordinator for DHD4, said. “We’ve got plans in place for smallpox, flu, plaque, things for all the Category A agents that the CDC requires.”

The department has been providing public health services since 1930. As a response to Anthrax attacks in 2002, the department started the Emergency Preparedness Program, which aims to improve infrastructure and enhance response plans.

Covering Alpena, Cheboygan, Montmorency and Presque Isle counties, the department would make use of the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Preparedness' Strategic National Stockpile in the event of a public health emergency. The CDC's stockpile is designed to provide medical supplies to the nation on a large-scale basis if needed.

For specific biological or chemical agents requiring additional countermeasures, the department would utilize the CDC's CHEMPACK program, or the Michigan Emergency Drug Delivery and Resource Utilization Network (MEDDRUN).

CHEMPACK is designed to provide antidotes to attacks that use nerve agents, while MEDDRUN consists of medication caches and supplies at emergency medical services agencies around the state. For 90 percent of the state, the caches can be transported within an hour. 

“Our program here is very strong,” Radocy, who has served as the DHD4 emergency services coordinator for eight years, said. “We have good ties with emergency management and our local hospital and medical providers.”

Radocy studied public health education at Central Michigan University, where he completed a bioterrorism internship with the Central Michigan District Health Department. After seven years as Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for Barry Eaton District Health Department, he moved back to his hometown of Aldena, where he has served as Emergency Services Coordinator for eight years.