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Information for Planning Partners
In an emergency, it is important that CCDPH and its partners work together to ensure a coordinated response. CCDPH works closely with partners such as local leaders, first responders, schools, hospitals and emergency management agencies, in order to create and test strategies that will allow us to better protect suburban Cook County residents during an emergency.
During an emergency such as a disease outbreak, natural disaster or intentional bioterrorist attack, CCDPH:
- Conducts surveillance
- Implements disease prevention and control measures
- Shares accurate and timely health information to our partners and our residents
In order to ensure that the agency provides the most effective and coordinated response to an emergency, CCDPH engages in preparedness planning for emergencies and disasters that pose the greatest risk to suburban Cook County. By thinking ahead and having a consistent set of core responsibilities for our agency and partners, CDDPH is better prepared to serve and protect our community.
Suburban Cook County is very large and the partners we work with are spread throughout the county, so we divided suburban Cook County into three planning regions:
* denotes that municipality or township is located in at least two counties, and has decided to partner with another county health department to develop and practice public health response plans; **denotes the areas of Evanston, Oak Park, Skokie and Stickney Township that have separate, state-certified local health departments operated by their respective local unit of government.
CCDPH is working to develop an emergency response plan to ensure the agency is adaptable to emergencies or disasters posing the greatest risk. This type of plan is crucial for a coordinated response and reduces confusion by having a consistent set of core responses within the agency. The following are examples of specific types of plans within CCDPH’s overall emergency response plan.
- Bio-Hazard Detection System Plan. Since anthrax was disseminated through the mail, the United States Postal Service has taken steps to guarantee the safety of its employees. Every postal and distribution facility has installed a Bio-Hazard Detection System (BDS) to analyze each piece of mail for anthrax.
- Pandemic Disease Plan. The CCDPH Pandemic Disease Response Plan is an Annex to the CCDPH emergency response plan and outlines the planned response of this agency to a pandemic disease outbreak. Due to the contagious nature of pandemic diseases, the goal of this Plan is to prevent loss of life, reduce injury and prevent the interruption of essential services to the residents of suburban Cook County by appropriate use of individual and community disease surveillance, vaccine/medical distribution, and use of control measures such as quarantine, isolation and/or restriction of movement to minimize the spread of disease. A recent example of when components of the plan were activated was in response to the H1N1 outbreak.
- Cook County Pharmaceutical Stockpile Distribution Plan. Adhering to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), CCDPH has written the Cook County Pharmaceutical Distribution Plan outlining the process by which Cook County and its partners will request, acquire, and dispense large amounts of post-exposure or prophylactic medications to the public in response to a biological outbreak.
- Given the geographical composition of suburban Cook County and limited resources, CCDPH has partnered with municipal first responders and community volunteer groups to staff and operate local Points of Dispensing (POD) sites --- places where the public will receive medications. As the municipal first responders’ primary resource for public health guidance and support for local planning efforts, CPCU has assigned Emergency Response Coordinators (ERCs) to the North, West and South regions of suburban Cook County. Each ERC provides technical assistance to local planning teams in developing their respective local POD plan. In partnership with CCDPH, these planning teams are the local experts in setting-up, activating, and operating their POD to ensure that their communities receive medication in a timely manner during an emergency.
- Mass Vaccination Plan. The primary goal of the CCDPH Mass Vaccination plan is to provide vaccinations to suburban Cook County residents as is necessary in order to decrease the potential impacts of infectious biological agents. This plan also serves to minimize the spread of naturally occurring communicable diseases through the use of mass immunization in a timely, safe, and efficient manner.
CCDPH works closely with our partners to ensure that our response plans are as comprehensive as possible in order to serve the diverse needs of suburban Cook County. CPCU works with our partners in various committees to address the specific needs of the population of suburban Cook County during a large-scale public health emergency.
Special Needs Advisory Panel (SNAP)
To ensure our planning and response in a public health emergency or disaster efforts include the needs of at-risk populations, we collaborate with organizations that serve this population within the Chicagoland area. This is a joint initiative between the Cook County Department of Public Health and the Chicago Department of Public Health.
- Providing information and guidance to CCDPH and CDPH;
- Setting priorities to address the needs of at-risk populations;
- Building CDPH and CCDPH infrastructures and capacities;
- Developing networks for disseminating public information to at-risk populations.
Mass Care Workgroup
The workgroup was created to develop a system of notification and response to help residents in suburban Cook County, during a large-scale emergency such as pandemic when resources may become scarce and individuals may be restricted to their homes.
- To make sure people who have to be in quarantine can still receive basic resources while making sure they remain quarantined
- Create a regional mental health crisis hotline to provide mental health support during a pandemic
- Educate the public about pandemic influenza and preparedness through a public information campaign
- Encourage businesses to pre-plan and consider flexible work-scenarios and continued income during a pandemic.
First Responder Task Force (FRTF)
First Responders are critical to responding to a large-scale public health event and particularly in assisting CCDPH with preventing and controlling the spread of disease. Comprised of First Responders, hospitals, federal, state, and local representatives, the FRTF works to ensure that Cook County has functional and effective operational response plans to public health threats.
- Guide public health and emergency planning and preparedness for suburban Cook County;
- Develop and/or improve response plans that involve/impact First responders;
- To coordinate consistent messages between CCDPH and first responders in suburban Cook County.
Public Health and Hospital Committee
The Cook County Department of Public Health has partnered with 21 hospitals within suburban Cook County to develop a committee that is aimed at enhancing information-sharing and coordination. By creating a county-wide system of collaboration and communication, the Public Health and Hospital Committee will help CCDPH and suburban Cook County hospitals create functional plans and policies that will ensure an effective county-based emergency response effort with efficient use of resources.
- Create a committee with representatives from SCC hospitals who have been identified as being the best points of contact regarding emergency preparedness;
- Develop a coordinated and systematic approach to emergency response utilizing both CCDPH and Cook County hospitals;
- Develop greater communication flow between Cook County hospitals and CCDPH in regards to emergency preparedness and response.
Cook County Regional Coordinating System
The Cook County Regional Coordinating System (CCRCS) is a regional incident command structure for suburban Cook County intended to promote regional coordination, unity of command, and comprehensive response plans.
- Develop planning groups in the South and West region to work on the structure and concept of CCRCS;
- Hold divisional and branch meetings in upcoming year;
- Conduct workshops in the South and West region to enhance the understanding of the CCRCS concepts.
Training and exercises play a crucial role in providing CCDPH and its planning and response partners with a means of attaining, practicing, validating, and improving new capabilities. Staff practice operating in an incident command state, they learn how to respond to media, how to develop a phone bank, and understand how all the work fits into to how to provide medications to first responders and the public if needed.
For information on upcoming preparedness exercises, contact the Community Preparedness and Coordination Unit at 708-633-8350.
Designed to train healthcare workers on vaccine immunization skills, ordering and storage of vaccine, and management of vaccine inventories.
Training for healthcare workers to provide guidelines, administration, screening and checklists, and comforting techniques when providing vaccinations.
Training for healthcare providers on best practice techniques for providing immunizations.
13-module, interactive series covering all aspects of providing immunizations.
National Incident Management Trainings
Additional Emergency Management Trainings
CDC course provides crisis and risk communication and media relations training for spokespersons in the event of a public health emergency. The target audiences include federal, state, and local public health professionals; healthcare professionals; emergency medical services professionals; preparedness partners; and civic and community leaders.
This website provides emergency management trainings throughout Illinois.
Mass Dispensing Trainings
A course for health care providers and other regulated or licensed health professionals that was based on the Pharmaceutical Stockpile Distribution Plan Paramedic Training Program for Illinois-licensed Emergency Medical Technician – Paramedics (EMT-Ps) - also created to aid in the dispensing of medications to local first responders and their family members.
Provides useful information on mass dispensing or working in a Point of Dispensing (POD). Available on-line trainings include: "Mass Dispensing: A Primer for Community Leaders" and "Working in a POD."