Community Response & Emergency Preparedness

Ensuring the health of the public is the responsibility of public health. The local health department is the primary responder in the community to protect its citizens from threat of disease in the community; acute care hospitals and emergency medical facilities and providers are more directed toward treating the individual once they become ill and require medical treatment. Working together with health partners and community representatives allows smooth coordination between disease management goals.

The role of public health has expanded since the events of September 11, 2001 to meet the challenges presented by the threat of biological agents as well as emerging infectious diseases. Under guidance provided by Health and Human Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and in compliance with requirements from the Homeland Security, emergency planning efforts have been undertaken to provide a framework for the local response to public health emergencies as well as to respond to other natural or man-made disasters known as an “all-hazards” approach.

The Town of Bethel is part of Mass Dispensing Area 5 and will set up a clinic that will be staffed with volunteer support - Community Emergency Response Volunteers (CERV) to rapidly provide medication to healthy populations in a short period of time in order to prevent or reduce the effects of smallpox, anthrax, pandemic or “avian” influenza, or other potential threats to life. This clinic would dispense oral medications or administer vaccines as required.