Prepare for Emergencies

Emergency preparedness means taking steps to be ready for emergencies before they happen. Some emergencies that may affect Columbia County are: winter storms, thunderstorms, power outages, flooding, disease outbreaks, and pandemic flu.

The Columbia County Department of Health urges community members to get themselves and their families ready for emergencies by having an emergency plan, making an emergency kit, and staying informed. Remember, Make a Plan, Make a Kit, and Be Informed.

We also encourage county residents to become volunteers for emergency preparedness and response activities. Becoming a volunteer is a wonderful way to get to know and help your community.

More about how the Columbia County Department of Health prepares for emergencies:

Conducting PODs – A POD, which stands for Point of Dispensing/Distribution, is a place where people can go to receive vaccines or medications in times of public health emergency to protect against illness. CCDOH conducts PODs during public health emergencies, but also does PODs during other times to practice for emergencies. During an emergency, community members might be instructed to go to a POD to receive any necessary vaccines/medication.

Conducting community outreach and education – We teach community members of all ages how to get themselves and their families ready for an emergency by making a plan, making a kit, and staying informed. We also teach about flu preparedness and prevention through hand washing education. CCDOH has adapted some American Red Cross programs for Columbia County — these programs include “Masters of Disaster” (to teach children about preparedness), “Be Red Cross Ready” (to teach adults about preparedness), and “The Scrubby Bear Hand Washing Program” (to teach children about hand washing and infection/flu prevention).

Helping community members to be aware of and prepared for potential emergencies – by checking on patients, long-term care facilities, home care agencies, migrant workers and farmers, new mothers and their families, and others before an emergency (i.e. before a major winter storm) to make sure they know how to get themselves and their families ready for emergencies.

Writing emergency response plans – These are submitted to and reviewed by New York State Department of Health.

Responding to emergencies of all types – We work with the Columbia County Emergency Management Office and various other community agencies at the county Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and in the field to respond to emergencies and disasters. CCDOH, along with other response agencies, uses the Incident Command System (ICS), a FEMA approach to managing incidents – which allows for coordinated response among various jurisdictions and agencies.

Assisting agencies, with mutual aid agreements and plans to promote efficiency, communication, and cooperation during emergencies.