The Health Department has been working for several years with the Office of Emergency Services and a broad network of community responders to upgrade countywide plans for any possible public health crisis in Westchester County, including an avian flu epidemic or a pandemic flu outbreak. Training exercises, community partnerships and technological advances in communications and disease tracking are the key elements that have been developed to ensure that the health of the public is protected no matter what public health emergency the county may experience.
Computerized Early Warning System: Community Health Electronic Surveillance System (CHESS)
An integral part of the county’s efforts to improve emergency preparedness, the Community Health Electronic Syndromic Surveillance system (CHESS ) is a highly-sophisticated computerized early warning system designed to track and statistically analyze unusual levels or patterns of disease within Westchester County.
Drills and training for public health emergencies
Westchester County, through its Department of Emergency Services and Health Department, drill and train for various public health emergencies on a regular basis throughout the year, often along with other key local and regional emergency response partners. In conjunction with New York State and federal emergency preparedness officials, Westchester is constantly upgrading its ability to handle public health emergencies.
Mass medication distribution points
Westchester County, through its Department of Emergency Services and Health Department, has identified locations throughout Westchester County which may serve as mass medication or vaccination distribution points during a large scale public health emergency.
Westchester Emergency Volunteer Reserve
Recognizing that Westchester County residents would very likely have to help themselves during the early stages of a catastrophic disaster, Westchester County has partnered with the Volunteer Center of United Way to create the Westchester Emergency Volunteer Reserve, known as the WEVR program. The curriculum provides volunteers with basic training in disaster survival and rescue skills. With this training, ordinary citizens could help themselves, their families and their neighbors in the event of a catastrophic disaster. In addition, a program for medical professionals has also been established know as the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC).