WWHD History of Emergency Preparedness

WWHD and Emergency Preparedness and Response

The events of September 11, 2001 and the subsequent anthrax attacks underscored the need for public health to become a more active participant in emergency preparedness and response. The Westport Weston Health District has been engaged in preparedness activities for several years. The initial focus was part of a national planning effort to address the potential threat of a smallpox release. Since then, preparedness has evolved into all-hazards planning. This includes preparing for the threat of bioterrorism (such as smallpox and anthrax) as well as naturally occurring threats such as the potential for an influenza pandemic.

The Westport Weston Health District’s Emergency Preparedness Division has developed and maintains a Public Health Emergency Preparedness & Response Plan. This plan is a component of both the Westport and Weston Emergency Operations Plans. This comprehensive plan includes sections for establishing mass dispensing clinics, or Points of Dispensing (“PODs”) in the event it is necessary to provide vaccines or medicine to all our residents during a public health emergency. It also includes areas such as dissemination of emergency public health communications, response to pandemic influenza, and an overall framework of how your health district will respond during a major emergency.

The Westport Weston Health District is also the lead local health department for Connecticut’s Mass Dispensing Area #4, which includes Westport, Weston, and Wilton. Together with the Wilton Health Department, the Westport Weston Health District must be ready to operate PODs, on 24 hours notice, to serve the residents of all our communities.