Local Preparedness Coalition Conducts Exercise with Care Facilities

Union County Emergency Preparedness Coalition will be conducting an exercise on Wednesday, October 17, 2018. The exercise will involve the vulnerable population of local care facilities including Grande Ronde Retirement Residence, La Grande Post Acute Rehab, and Wildflower Lodge.

The Union County Emergency Preparedness Coalition is a local group of agencies working to prepare for emergencies of any kind within Union County. Member agencies include the Center for Human Development, Grande Ronde Hospital, the American Red Cross, Union County Extension Service, and Union County Emergency Services.  Recent state mandated changes to rules and regulations involving requirements for care facilities has also brought Grande Ronde Retirement Residence, La Grande Post Acute Rehab, Wildflower Lodge, and Fresenius Medical Care to the Coalition.

In an effort to conduct a beneficial exercise, the Coalition determined that an optional mass dispensing of the flu vaccine to the care facility residents would support the care facilities in practicing the Incident Command System (ICS). ICS is a management system designed to enable effective and efficient incident management by integrating a combination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications operating within a common organizational structure.

Practicing as a group allows the building of partnerships, capacity, and the opportunity to exercise addressing emergency situations in the future. Bringing local agencies together to achieve a common goal allows for the continued strengthening of partnerships and preparedness.

The timing of this exercise was well planned to coincide with flu shot season. Locally, flu vaccines are available for the public at local pharmacies, doctor’s offices, and Center for Human Development which has a walk-in clinic available every Friday.  The Center for Disease Control recommends receiving the flu shot prior to October 31, however, getting vaccinated after that date can still be beneficial.  The flu vaccine will continue to be offered throughout the flu season, even into January or later.  Receiving the vaccine not only helps to keep you healthy, but also those around you including the elderly, children, and individuals with a weakened immune system.