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Preemptive strike: While emergencies can take many forms from natural disasters to homeland security threats, reassuringly, governmental agencies, medical facilities and community organizations, et al., have systemic procedures in place to productively an

Preemptive strike

While emergencies can take many forms from natural disasters to homeland security threats, reassuringly, governmental agencies, medical facilities and community organizations, et al., have systemic procedures in place to productively and efficiently contend with such widespread crises.

Officially known as ’emergency preparedness’, unified stratagems employed at all levels–local, state and national–that lie in wait of just such critical situations help alleviate the chaos and frenzy that could ensue.

A pre-anticipatory strike if you will, governmental bodies, community-based social service agencies, community associations and medical-public institutions all work together to formulate a ‘preparedness plan of attack’ in the event such an emergency does indeed occur.

And while the nature of the emergency may vary from a flood or a fire to a medical outbreak or an ambush, consistent steps–reliant upon premeditated measures–are taken to mitigate the impact of the crisis.

Preparedness put to the test

Case in point, take the recent H1N1 Virus (swine flu) pandemic, the handling of which could have resulted in bedlam on a global scale. Yet, on account of the ‘emergency preparedness’ measures in place, the public management of the outbreak proved to be very well orchestrated and controlled. At a time when it could perhaps be least afforded, Illinois averted a possible loss of millions to billions of dollars in terms of revenues and economic impact on the state as a whole because of actions of Governor Quinn and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

And, particularly true in Illinois, where calming public perceptions of the H1N1 Virus presented an opportunity for state and local officials/experts to test the ’emergency preparedness’ systems in place.

“We were fortunate that just four months ago (February of 2009), the entire senior staff went through a National Incident Management System Training (NIMS) enabling us to fall right into place” stated Dr. Damon Arnold, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health of how the state was able to quickly respond to the potential threat of the H1N1 Virus.

Further, Dr. Arnold explained that as part of the NIMS training, senior staffers were required to go through a series of case-scenarios in which they needed to: quickly shift gears, set up incident command centers and tactfully mobilize forces.

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