Emergencies Don’t Wait
A public health emergency is an incident that creates a health risk to the public. This can be from a natural or man-made cause, and can include anything from a natural disaster to the outbreak of a disease.
Although Gallatin County tends to feel removed from the dangers that can occur in larger cities, no community is immune to emergencies. Therefore, it’s imperative that individuals and local agencies have emergency systems in order to be as prepared as possible.
The Gallatin City-County Health Department’s Emergency Preparedness Program focuses on three main emergency response goals, including:
- Surveillance-The Gallatin City-County health Department monitors public health by keeping track of reportable diseases. Health care providers are required by law to submit disease information for over 50 diseases and/or conditions to the health department.
- Containment- In the event of a contagious disease outbreak or an exposure to toxins, the Gallatin City-County Health Department, along with other agencies and volunteers, will work to contain and limit the impact of a public health situation. In extreme cases, this may involve establishing large community clinics called Points of Dispensing (PODs) where vaccinations or medications can be quickly and easily distributed to the public.
- Communication- The Gallatin City-County Health Department provides risk communications and public information. In the event of a public health emergency or a disease outbreak, we will use the Health Alert Network (HAN) to quickly alert local health providers, partners, and the general public, providing information about the emergency and the containment process.
If an emergency does occur, check our website to access information about POD setup, emergency instructions, and forms to fill out ahead of time.
We work with many agencies to develop Gallatin County’s response capacity to public health emergencies, including:
- Gallatin County Emergency Management
- Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital
- Montana State University
- Public Safety
- Emergency responders
- Other community agencies
The Gallatin City-County Health Department can use volunteers for medical and non-medical positions in case of a community emergency. If you would like to be an emergency volunteer, call (406) 582-3100.
How to Prepare
There are a number of things you can do individually to prepare for a public health emergency or natural disaster.
- Create a Family Emergency Plan – This includes choosing an out of area contact, temporary accommodations, and a plan for your pets. Keep emergency numbers accessible at all times.
- Put Emergency Kits Together – Depending on the type of emergency, kits can include first aid supplies, water, food, and much more.
- Check Emergency Plans – Make sure you know emergency preparedness plans at work and in your children’s schools.
- Practice your Plan – Practice your emergency preparedness plans as a family at least once a year.
In Montana, one thing is for sure: Winters tends to stick around well into the spring!
Winter weather can have harsh affects on your home and winter driving is not to be taken lightly. Here are some ways to prepare for winter emergencies:
In the Home:
Strong winter storms can take out heat, power, and telephone service. It’s important to have emergency supplies in your home including:
- Non-perishable food to last for up to a week
- Medications and first aid supplies
- Baby supplies, such as diapers and food
- Pet supplies & food
For more tips on what to have on hand, click here.
On the Road:
It’s also important to carry extra supplies in your car, including:
- A sleeping bag or blankets
- A shovel
- Food and water
If you can, carry a cell phone. Always let someone know when and where you are traveling as well as the route you will take.