The Van Buren Youth and Community Center was the site of the Region G Public Health Emergency Conference July 27.
According to Oregon County Health Department Director Sheila Russell, 150 people from the nine county Region G area attended the conference. "The conference was aimed at learning more about emergency preparedness and exercising our emergency plans that we already have in existence," Russell said.
The entire staff of the Oregon County Health Department attended the conference. "This was a table-top exercise where the scenario of an extreme emergency was presented. It could be a flu pandemic, earthquake, ice storm or something else," Russell said.
She said, being in a rural area, if an extreme emergency did occur in the Region G area, the area would mostly be on its own. "We would not have access to hospitals or other medical care. We discussed how we will need food, water and other items," she said.
Russell said the conference had two excellent speakers, William Stanhope, associate director of Special Projects Institute for Bio-Security from the St. Louis University School of Public Health, and Harold Bengsch, former director of the Springfield/Green County Health Department and present Green County Commissioner.
Russell said in addition to the nine health departments in Region G, five of the nine emergency management directors of Region G, DNR personnel, area hospital staff, law enforcement officers, firemen, first responders, Missouri DHHS members, faith based personnel, national park staff personnel, as well as members of the general public attended the conference.
The conference was provided by a grant to Region G Health Departments, including the Oregon County Health Department.
Russell said the conference is held in a different county every year. For more information regarding emergency kits call the Alton Health Department at 778-7450, Monday through Friday or the Thayer Health Department at 264-3114 on Tuesday and Wednesday.