Connecticut public health officer offers guidance on preparedness

A Connecticut public health officer recently provided preparedness advice during two informational sessions at the Willington Public Library in Willington, Connecticut.

Jonathan Best, the director of the Connecticut Public Health Office of Preparedness and Response, provided an overview of the state's largest regulatory agency during his presentations on January 14. Best manages 855 state employees and 24,530 emergency medical technicians, all of whom are prepared for life-threatening events, ReminderNews reports.

"I'm the disaster guy," Best said, according to ReminderNews. "It is not if something is going to happen, it is when."

The Department of Public Health Office of Preparedness and Response deals with natural disasters, terrorist attacks, chemical emergencies, water and food safety issues and disease outbreaks. Best said the office monitors the use of certain medications and absenteeism in schools to keep tabs on outbreaks and other incidents.

Best recommended that Connecticut residents stay prepared with a go kit that includes cash, medications, important documents, a pocket knife, flashlight, second pair of glasses, whistle and photographs, along with food and water. The office provides residents with a free booklet about emergency preparedness which can be found at many local libraries and town halls, ReminderNews reports.

"Being prepared is important," Tom Fox, an attendee of the presentation, said, according to ReminderNews. "The government can be overtaxed in an emergency. Being self-reliant makes you more independent and able to help your neighbors. During emergencies we are able to use our generator and wood stove and help our neighbors by offering them a warm meal and warm house."

The Connecticut Department of Public Health Office of Preparedness and Response was founded in 1878 to plan for emergencies on a statewide basis.