For more information contact: Boonshoft School of Medicine, Judi Engle, Office of Public Relations, (937) 775-2951

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 8, 2006

Emergency Preparedness in the Neighborhood

DAYTON, OHIO--The Ohio Department of Health has contracted $800,000 to Wright State's Homeland Emergency Learning and Preparedness (H.E.L.P.) Center to establish the State's pilot Neighborhood Emergency Help Center with community partners, including the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association.

The Neighborhood Emergency Help Center will become activated in a large-scale disaster, whether man-made or natural, to provide additional health care at the neighborhood level. The Neighborhood Emergency Help Center is considered the first operational component of a comprehensive health and medical response strategy to disasters.

"Critical steps are being taken by Wright State's Boonshoft School of Medicine to address surge capacity and capability," explains Mark Gebhart, M.D., project director and assistant professor of emergency medicine. "This effort and others, such as recent discussions about how to handle a bird flu pandemic, are crucial steps being taken to provide the Greater Dayton area with an insurance policy for mass care."

In the State contract, the H.E.L.P. Center will establish a transportation plan for critical patients, delivery plan for medical care, and a plan for patient tracking and discharge, as well as acquire and store necessary supplies and equipment for the Neighborhood Emergency Help Center. The H.E.L.P. Center is a community-wide effort to better prepare our community for large-scale emergencies, such as a weather disaster, terrorist attack, or hazardous materials situation.

The H.E.L.P. Center has become a focal point for emergency preparedness and has a State contract to establish an acute care center with the capability to care for 1,000 adult and pediatric patients in a mass casualty situation. The H.E.L.P. Center is also an accredited National Disaster Life Support™ Foundation Regional Training Center for Ohio and offers disaster preparedness training to emergency responders, including law enforcement officers, fire fighters, hazardous materials technicians, bomb squads, public health service workers, emergency medical service personnel, and other emergency management personnel. The H.E.L.P. Center was established by the Department of Emergency Medicine, Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine.