Moffat County Commissioners talk public health, emergency preparedness |

Moffat County Commissioners talk public health, emergency preparedness

Moffat County commissioners are working with regional and local public health officials to update outdated emergency preparedness plans.

In a special meeting Monday morning, June 17, commissioners met Jim Johnsen, a staff member with Northwest Colorado emergency preparedness and response at Northwest Colorado Health, to discuss the county’s emergency preparedness drills, assigning a local public health emergency preparedness coordinator, and revamping much of the county’s public health emergency preparedness plans.

“There are about 11 that are gonna have to be completely rewritten from top to bottom,” Johnsen said of the county’s public health plans.

The county’s needed public health emergency management coordinator would be in addition to Tom Soos’ position as Moffat County’s director of emergency management, which was made a part-time position in 2017.

“That has to do with the county changing course and hiring it’s own public health director instead of contacting with Northwest Colorado Health,” Soos said of the Monday meeting.

In the event of a public health emergency, the public health emergency coordinator would pool air and other assets, coordinate health outcomes, and be a liason between the federal and local governments.

“Basically they’re the lead as far as health care,” Johnsen told commissioners.

This person should also be familiar with emergency standards and best practices.

“They need a good understanding of the national emergency management system,” Johnsen said.

Craig Police Chief Jerry DeLong said his department often works with area hospitals and county officials to keep his officers and staff up to date on their emergency plans. He said he’s glad the county is working to update its preparedness plans.

“Any time we can have someone keep the plans updated for any types of emergency is great for the community,” DeLong said.

As for something residents can do to be prepared, Soos said it’s always a good idea to have all the necessary food, water, and comforts to be self-sufficient for up to three days.

“If you can be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours, it takes a lot of stress off the system,” Soos said.

Soos encouraged residents to also update and input any cell phone numbers into the county’s Code Red system, which can be found on the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office website.

Johnsen said as soon as commissioners get around to appointing an emergency coordinator, he’d be available to train and mentor that individual. But first, they’ll have to appoint someone to the position, which is partially funded by government dollars.

“It’s really important we move on this,” Johnsen told commissioners.

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