Emergency Preparedness

The mission of the Gloucester County Emergency Preparedness Program is to protect our residents from natural and manmade public health emergencies through planning, education, disease surveillance, preparedness and emergency response coordination.

What is Gloucester County doing to prepare for a public health emergency?  

Planning

Gloucester is one of 21 LINCS agencies (Local Information Network & Communication Systems) in New Jersey. As a LINCS agency we are responsible for the distribution of life saving antibiotics and other medication in response to a disease outbreak, biological or chemical attack.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requires LINCS agencies to develop plans to distribute this medication within 48 hours. In Gloucester County we have plans to distribute medication at any of our 5 POD sites (Points of Distribution) throughout the county.

Training and Exercising

In order to test our plans the Gloucester County Emergency Preparedness Program conducts several exercises each year. Often times these exercises include our emergency response partners like the Office of Emergency Management, EMS, law enforcement and local healthcare facilities.  We also include our trained volunteers called the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC). Emergency preparedness staff also maintains readiness by attending trainings like Incident Command Structure, CBRNE awareness, Emergency Risk Communication and American Red Cross Sheltering.



 Click here to learn more about the Medical Reserve Corps and to register to become a member

Points of Dispensing (POD’s)

In Gloucester County, a POD is very similar to a flu shot clinic.  In an emergency, however, additional steps need to be taken to ensure the dispensing area is safe and secure for our residents.  Similar to a flu clinic, we will ask residents to fill out forms or be prepared to answer questions regarding allergies and existing medical conditions.  If the medication being dispensed is in pill form, we encourage one family member to pick up pills for the whole family.  If you know of someone who has mobility or transportation issues, we encourage you to pick up medication for those individuals.  If you would like to email or speak with someone in our Emergency Preparedness Program regarding POD planning, contact us at (856) 218-4131.

First Responder & Closed POD Plans

The NJ Department of Health requires each LINCS agency to establish plans to dispense medication to emergency personnel that may be exposed to a communicable disease while responding. Our First Responder Plan has been tested in multiple full scale exercises.  First Responders may include EMS, law enforcement, fire fighters and critical infrastructure.

If it were necessary to establish a POD site in Gloucester County, simultaneous distribution to businesses or organizations may also occur. These businesses and organizations will dispense medication to their employees and their families. This is known as a Closed POD. If you have questions about the First Responder or Closed POD program contact:

Annmarie Ruiz
(856) 218-4131
aruiz@co.gloucester.nj.us

Are you ready to become a Closed POD partner? Click here for more information.

What can I do to prepare for an emergency?

Even though Gloucester County has plans to respond to a public health emergency, you need to take action to be prepared.  Simple steps like stockpiling food, water and medications make a big difference in managing your family during a crisis.  Click here to view Family Preparedness toolkits and read about other important preparedness tips. Also see link below for preparing for disasters, hurricanes and floodwater.

http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/foodwater.asp