Union County Agencies Conduct Tabletop Exercise To Prepare for H1N1 Influenza
Union County Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella (L) speaks with Philip Spinelli, Critical Infrastructure Coordinator with the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, during Union County’s Tabletop Exercise to Prepare for H1N1 influenza. (Photo by Jim Lowney/County of Union)
Officials from a wide range of government agencies gathered in Westfield yesterday for a tabletop exercise to practice their response to the H1N1 influenza virus, and its potential impact on Union County’s schools and children.
Participants in the exercises at the Union County Educational Services Commission included school superintendents and health officials from the county and local municipalities, Kean University, Union County College, the Union County Police Chief and Union County Prosecutor’s Office Counter-Terrorism personnel.
“It is incredibly important for all our agencies to work together should H1N1 become widespread in our county,” said Union County Freeholder Alexander Mirabella. “This exercise helps us to be better prepared in protecting our children from this dangerous illness.”
Representatives from the New Jersey State Department of Education and the State Police also took part in the exercise aimed at protecting school-age children from the H1N1 virus and provide for the continuity of school operations.
The constant need for planning, organizing, staffing and coordination was emphasized by the group during the exercise. It provided a venue for schools, health officials, law enforcement and other governmental agencies at the state, county and local level to discuss the best practices that have been developed over the past few months in preparation for a coordinated community response to H1N1. The exercise also helped to detect strengths and potential vulnerabilities in combating the virus.
”Without a well thought out plan to deal with H1N1, school resiliency may suffer,” added Chairman Mirabella. “That is why school and health officials across Union County are constantly working on preparedness and contingency plans and not wishful thinking.”
The tabletop exercise is part of Union County’s continuing mission to help ensure the safety and health of Union County residents. The best prevention and protection is to say informed of the latest guidelines, updates and recommendations from public health officials. Contact the Union County office of Health Management at (908) 518-5620 or visit www.ucnj.org/lincs, www.cdc.gov, and www.nj.gov/health for more information.