Monday, January 3, 2011

County, Columbia River Fire Sharing Resources

Columbia County Agencies Share Resources

to Prepare for Health Emergencies.

ST. HELENS–Columbia County and Columbia River Fire and Rescue (CRFR) recently agreed to share individual medical resources for their employees in the event of a major disease outbreak or bio-terrorism attack.

The agencies are now joint members under a program known as the Push Partner Registry, an effort of Columbia Health District - Public Health Authority and the Portland-metropolitan Cities Readiness Initiative (CRI).

The Push Partner Registry, a program under the Cities Readiness Initiative allows Columbia Health District (CHD) to leverage their limited resources through partners to help the general public. According to CHD public health preparedness coordinator Anne Parrott, in specific public health events CHD will focus on providing assistance to the general public as quickly as possible; Push Partners support this effort by running their own medication dispensing operation. “This removes the burden on public places of medication dispensing and keeping vital services, such as residential care facilities, open during the event,” Parrott stated.

Local agencies are taking advantage of the program in order to assist public health officials and protect employees. "Columbia County was really interested in this program, but we wanted to find a way to share it with a local partner in order to maximize taxpayer resources," said Derek White, director of emergency management for Columbia County. "With our close proximity and great working relationship with Columbia River Fire and Rescue, we felt that it was a great fit."

CRFR believes that participation is vital to what it does. “Prompt immunization and vaccinations of agencies who perform emergency response and maintain the critical infrastructure governmental services is critical in the successful mitigation of an event that posses serious health and exposure risks,” said Brian Burright, emergency medical services division chief at CRFR. “Participating in the Push Partner Registry assures that vaccinations can be rapidly dispensed to those agencies.”

Public agencies and private employers are welcome to join the Push Partner Registry for free. For more information, contact Anne Parrott at 503-397-4651, ext. 2022 or .