Colorado health department receives $14.6 million for emergency preparedness

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced on Monday that its Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response received a federal grant of more than $14.6 million to provide emergency preparedness funding.

The grant will provide funding for 15 community mental health centers, 82 hospitals, 18 public health centers and 55 local public health agencies.

"The funding we receive from the Department of Health and Human Services is imperative to preparedness, response and recovery activities across the state of Colorado," Lyle Moore, the OEPR's director, said. "The funds are directed toward preparedness efforts with local agencies to build or enhance response and recovery capabilities."

One project that will be funded by the grant is the "I'm not scared if I'm prepared" program. The project provides kindergarteners and first graders with preparedness activities to work on with their families and a bag that contains preparedness items.

The project was piloted last year near the Waldo Canyon burn area. Approximately 5,000 kits were distributed. This year, the project will be expanded statewide.

"Other recent examples include providing funding to Rio Grande Hospital for additional radios that were used during the West Fork Complex Wildfire, building medical capacity to handle an incident like the bombing at the Boston Marathon, emergency operations and public information during wildfires and supporting preparedness planning and training in long-term care facilities throughout Colorado," Moore said.

The funding also supports the Cities Readiness Initiative, which assists agencies in large metropolitan areas in developing plans to quickly dispense antibiotics in response to bioterrorist incidents.