|News Release|| |
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact:||HHS Press Office|
|Friday, September 19, 2003||(202) 690-6343|
HHS JOINS RAPID NEEDS ASSESSMENT TEAMS IN HURRICANE'S WAKE
Officials Will Gauge Public Health Needs
Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson announced that Department emergency personnel are joining state and local officials today as part of rapid needs assessment teams to study damage caused by Hurricane Isabel and determine public health needs in the wake of the storm.
HHS deployed emergency response teams to North Carolina and Virginia in advance of the hurricane, and they are working hand in hand with health officials in affected areas to provide any public health assistance needed. So far, 96 HHS personnel are deployed along the hurricane's path, and dozens of others are prepared to help in areas most needing public health assistance.
"It is important that we quickly evaluate the public health needs in the communities hardest hit by Hurricane Isabel," Secretary Thompson said. "We are on the ground throughout the path of the storm to support state and local efforts in any way we can, and we will be there as long as they need us."
Secretary Thompson and officials from throughout the Department, including the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, monitored Hurricane Isabel's progress throughout the night. They remain in constant communication with federal, state and local partners and hospitals, nursing homes and health centers to assess damage and public health needs. Secretary Thompson visited two Northern Virginia hospitals - Inova Alexandria Hospital and Inova Mount Vernon Hospital - Wednesday night to thank health workers and vowed to provide any support needed.
As the hurricane moves on, HHS officials are urging families in the storm's wake to be careful as they clean up. Among issues to be aware of:
Injuries often are caused by puncture wounds from exposed nails, metal or glass.
State and local health departments may issue health advisories or recommendations particular to local conditions. If in doubt, contact your local or state health department.
If your well has been flooded, it needs to be tested and disinfected after state or local health departments.
Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with contaminated floodwater.
Safe drinking water includes bottled, boiled or treated water. Your local or state health department can make specific recommendations for boiling or treating drinking water.
These and other important tips for health and safety following a hurricane can be found on the HHS Web site at www.hhs.gov/disasters/hurricane.html.
Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are
available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.
Last Revised: September 19, 2003
[www.hhs.gov/foia] | Disclaimers [www.hhs.gov/Disclaimer.html]
The White House | FirstGov [www.firstgov.gov]
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services o 200 Independence Avenue,
| ||S.W. o Washington, D.C. 20201|