06/05/06 — County eyes plan for flu pandemic, disasters

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County eyes plan for flu pandemic, disasters

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on June 5, 2006 1:53 PM

Wayne County commissioners will hear Tuesday how health officials would mobilize should an outbreak of avian flu strike the Wayne area.

Dr. Keith Henderson of the Public Health Regional Surveillance Team will make a presentation on the possibility of an influenza pandemic to the Wayne County Board of Commissioners.

The commissioners are considering the creation of a county emergency planning committee to deal with that and other catastrophic scenarios.

County Manager Lee Smith said a similar committee was in place in the 1980s and 1990s, and he would like to see it revived.

Committee members would devise strategies on how to handle emergency situations, such as a jet crashing within a municipality, a pandemic, severe hurricane damage or a flood, Smith said.

Emergency Services Director Joe Gurley said the committee's plan is to identify hazardous chemical inventories in the county, to work as an umbrella for various homeland security committees and to provide continuity in an emergency situation.

Committee members would include elected officials, law enforcement officers, firefighters, the military and various community groups.

In other business, the commissioners will consider a Home and Community Block Grant for Older Adults. The county received $624,070 in funds from the grant and must approve its allocation. The commissioners' Council for Older Adults suggested allocating the money among congregate nutrition, home-delivered meals, medical transportation, general transportation, information assistance, group respite and in-home services, which gets the largest share of the grant.

Following the commissioners' meeting, the board plans to hold another work session on the county budget, which must be approved before July 1.

The commissioners' meetings are held in the commissioners' meeting room on the fourth floor of the county courthouse.

The briefing session begins at 8 a.m., which is followed by a regularly scheduled meeting at 9 a.m.