RealNews

Agency: Small Towns Must Be Terror-Ready

The nation’s efforts to prepare for terrorism have overlooked smaller communities, which lack funds and often awareness that they could be the target of the next big catastrophe, according to an agency that regulates hospitals. While large cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles have preparedness plans, most smaller cities do not, said Dr. Dennis O’Leary, president of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. “This is really a major problem waiting to happen,” he said. The commission, which accredits and monitors nearly 17,000 health care organizations, prepared its report for release Wednesday to raise awareness about the need for better mobilization to fight terrorism on the community level. The report evolved from a round-table discussion involving emergency preparedness officials. Their recommendations include urging communities to involve local agencies including hospitals, police, fire, public health and mental health officials in preparedness efforts. Plans should include drills, stockpiling appropriate medications and supplies, and giving caregivers priority for training, protective equipment, vaccinations and other protective measures, the report says. Full Story

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