Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded a fifth perfect score to the Niagara County health department's Cities Readiness Initiative plan.
The score, 100 percent, is derived from onsite and document review, according to Daniel Stapleton, county public health director.
The Cities Readiness Initiative is a federally funded effort to prepare major U.S. cities and metropolitan areas to respond to a large-scale emergency event by dispensing medical countermeasures to their entire identified population within 48 hours of activation. The county is required to write and rehearse preparedness plans for a wide range of manmade and naturally occurring emergencies.
Niagara County's plans involve public and private/volunteer service providers, from public health and public safety units to trained civilian responders and even animal handlers as needed.
The plans are reviewed annually by CDC and state public health personnel and improvements are suggested as warranted. No improvements were suggested for Niagara County's plan, Stapleton said. In fact, CDC called the local plan "a model for other jurisdictions."
“The Niagara County program, with its perfect evaluation, demonstrates a level of excellence that exceeds acceptable standards for protecting our community during a catastrophic public health event,” he said. “Maintaining these scores every year is no easy feat, in light of acute funding reductions and increasingly complex requirements for this mandated program.”