El Paso area schools, universities to participate in radiation preparedness exercise

MGN Online
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - 4:42pm

Representatives from several El Paso county school districts, colleges, and emergency management personnel will conduct the nation's first emergency preparedness exercise to examine how school districts and institutions of higher learning would respond to a radiological incident on Thursday.

El Paso is one of six cities nationwide that the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) selected because of the City of El Paso Department of Public Health’s leadership in emergency preparedness efforts. Other cities chosen to participate in this effort are: Bend, OR; Indianapolis, IN; New Orleans, LA; New York City, NY; Salt Lake City, UT.

The exercise will assess communications, allocation of scarce resources, volunteer management and family reunification processes. It is part of a national effort by NACCHO to bolster community partnerships and better prepare communities for radiological and catastrophic emergencies.

“The City of El Paso Department of Public Health is grateful to have the opportunity to host a radiation legal preparedness site visit because it will allow us to expand our knowledge in this area and strengthen our community’s capacity to effectively respond to an event of this nature,” said Angela Mora, Deputy Public Health Director.

The use of radiation has increased in the 21st century and the potential for a national radiological incident that requires a public health response has also increased. Public health officials and educational facilities are legally responsible for protecting the health of their communities during a radiological incident, and are leading community response.

Representatives from the Clint, Socorro, and El Paso Independent School Districts, EPCC, and UTEP as well as the City/County Office of Emergency Management, Texas Division of Emergency Management-Texas Homeland Security, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, Border RAC (Regional Advisory Council), American Red Cross, El Paso Police Department-Homeland Security Unit, El Paso Fire Department, and the City of El Paso Department of Public Health will participate in the exercise.

The exercise will take place Thursday, March 20, 2014 at the Westside Regional Command located at 4801 Osborne Dr. from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

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