Nebraska DHHS Emergency Preparedness
Ready to Respond
During an emergency, lives depend on how quickly we are able to respond with organized, effective help. Coordinating with local, state and federal resources is critical to providing effective responses to bioterorrism and other public health emergencies. It’s that spirit of cooperation that has made Nebraska a model for others to follow.
In Nebraska, we’ve made huge strides in planning and strengthening our emergency response. Specifically, at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) we’re working to strengthen our public health system and protect people against future threats.
The federal government provides financial aid to the states through grant funds to assist with bioterrorism and emergency response planning at the state and local levels.
Joseph M. Acierno, MD, JD
Chief Medical Officer
of Public Health
DHHS has used some of our federal grant money to:
help fund local health departments to better coordinate preparedness efforts and to increase our surveillance and diagnostic capacities;
establish the Center for Biopreparedness Education, a partnership of the University of Nebraska’s and CreightonUniversity’s MedicalCenters, and the only one of its kind in the country;
install more high-level laboratory equipment at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and in regional labs in rural Nebraska;
increase capacity to provide information to the public and the media during times of crisis;
provide support to area metropolitan medical response systems, local health agencies, hospitals, and community health centers;
develop Nebraska’s Health Alert Network (HAN). The HAN lets us notify local, state and federal officials, statewide healthcare providers, hospitals, local health departments, and others with important information about public health events;
help organize and fund the Mid America Alliance, the regional public health institute focused on preparedness; and
incorporate Geographic Information Systems (GIS) into our emergency plans to help us respond quicker and more effectively in a public health emergency.
Nebraskans have focused a great deal of energy on being prepared to respond to emergencies of all kinds. We need to continue to expand our efforts to make sure that each and every Nebraskan takes an active role in planning and preparing for an emergency. We may never be fully prepared, but that doesn’t mean we cannot be better prepared.
For more information on emergency planning and preparedness, visit the Department of Homeland Security’s personal readiness web site at www.ready.gov and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov.