County: Hale, healthy for emergencies

The Chester County Health Department gets a super-clean bill of health when it comes to responding to public emergencies, according to the National Association of County and City Health Officials.

The national group, which represents 2,700 health departments across the county, deemed Chester County’s department as “Public Health Ready,” the county commissioners announced earlier this week. The designation required the county to meet comprehensive preparedness benchmarks required by Project Public Health Ready, a partnership between NACCHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the NACCHO web site, only 198 departments in 25 states have received this honor. "This recognition supports two of our commissioners' strategic priorities - to promote and protect the public health of the community, and to ensure safe and secure communities. We are pleased to be acknowledged as 'Public Health Ready', and will continue to improve upon our ability to quickly and effectively respond to any public health crisis," said Margaret Rivello, director of the Chester County Health Department.

"NACCHO commends Chester County for being a model of public health emergency preparedness," said Robert Pestronk, executive director of NACCHO. The county had to meet expectations in public health preparedness in three key areas: preparedness planning, workforce competency, and demonstration of all-hazards readiness through exercises or a response to a real event. The recognition confirms that Chester County has an emergency response plan in place, the plan is connected to other jurisdictional emergency response plans, agency staff members are trained, and the plan is exercised and used during public health emergencies, officials said.

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