In Good Health Are we ready or not?

December 25, 2007
by Ashley Andyshak
Frederick News-Post

Despite the lessons in preparedness provided by the 2001 terrorist attacks and the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, a national study released last week shows that most states aren't ready for public health emergencies. The Trust for America's Health commissioned the study, which ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia on a 10-point emergency preparedness scale. Maryland scored eight out of a possible 10 points, including points for purchasing its share of pandemic flu antibodies, maintaining public health funding, and keeping emergency preparedness procedures up to date. However, the trust says Maryland's plans to distribute vaccines and medical supplies in an emergency are not adequate, and says the state is one of 21 that has no laws to provide liability shields to volunteers in a public health emergency. The study's data on the public's trust in the government's emergency preparedness is also pretty grim. According to the study, 54 percent of Americans believe the U.S. is not as safe as it was prior to Sept. 11, 2001, and nearly 60 percent believe their community is unprepared to respond to a natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina.

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