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Photo of the Centennial Bridge with a Welcome to Rock Island sign in the foreground

Emergency Preparedness

Medical Reserve Corps logo with a blue star over a red star

Rock Island County Health Department is continually expanding and updating our emergency plan to cover a variety of possible emergency situations and guidelines for response. We frequently meet and collaborate with our key partners and stakeholders within the community to share plans and to ensure integration with their own agency emergency plans. A perfect example of this cooperation was the emergence of the Quad Cities COVID-19 Coalition in March of 2020. These partners included Scott County and Rock Island County Health Departments, Scott County and Rock Island County Emergency Management, Unity Point and Genesis Hospitals, Community Health Care, elected officials, and others to monitor and address issues with the novel coronavirus that had an impact on the Quad Cities. This Coalition had met every week or every other week as need required since its initiation, to provide information sharing and an integrated approach toward the pandemic. In addition, RICHD writes a quarterly newsletter to keep healthcare providers apprised of current public health issues.  To view the current newsletter, click here.

For a biological attack or pandemic response our role would be quite demanding. If there was a release of a biological agent such as Anthrax or Smallpox, the Rock Island County Health Department would be responsible to medicate or vaccinate all the residents of Rock Island County (almost 143,000 people). This is the focus of much of our planning and has led to the creation of a local Medical Reserve Corps unit (MRC), who have had an invaluable role in our responses. Click here for more information on the Rock Island County MRC. Our plans include disease surveillance, investigation and epidemiology, requesting additional supplies (the Strategic National Stockpile from the CDC in Atlanta) through our local Emergency Management Agency (Rock Island County EMA), securing sites for shipment of the supplies as well as sites within the county to hold mass clinics. For information about emergency medication dispensing sites, click here. A medical consent form would need to be completed either at a dispensing site or prior to arrival. A sample medical form is linked here. These plans helped RICHD to be prepared to respond during COVID-19.  Once every 5 years, RICHD exercises a mass antibiotic dispensing or mass vaccination. The recent COVID-19 mass vaccination clinics are an example of such an exercise. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Rock Island County Health Department held weekly and sometimes daily vaccination clinics throughout the county. The first few clinics were drive through, then transitioned to a more traditional walk through site, as well as pop up vaccine clinics. RICHD may utilize a variety of methods to get medications or vaccinations to the public during emergency events. These exercises test our ability to utilize the entire health department staff and available MRC volunteers and simulate how many people we could service in a given time period. Exercises give us valuable information, which we use to continually improve our plan to be as efficient as possible. We also continue to participate locally and regionally in tabletop exercises and functional drills to increase our knowledge and strengthen relationships with key community partners.

Rock Island County Health Department advocates that citizens also prepare at home for emergency situations. It is recommended that individuals prepare to be self-sufficient for at least 3 days during a disaster. For instance, during a natural disaster power may be out and crews may need to clear debris before rescue workers would be able to get through to damaged areas. Creating a home emergency supply kit will ensure your family has enough supplies for that period of time before additional help arrives. Click here for a printable emergency supply checklist.

The definition of "emergency" may at times expand to include a heightened response to the prevention and control of communicable diseases. When a local disease outbreak occurs such as a Pertussis outbreak, the Rock Island County Health Department plays a leadership role in communicating with the public, health care providers and others. Public Health acts as a liaison to provide information on the disease, prevention and control measures, updates on occurrence etc. If an outbreak is the result of a food borne illness, the Health Department's environmental health practitioners are involved in investigation and control because of their expertise in food sanitation and their role in the inspection and licensing of food service establishments. An influenza pandemic would have implications for our entire community, therefore Rock Island County Health Department works in collaboration with other area agencies to determine strategies for a public health response. Pandemic Influenza informational links are listed below.

Dr. Louis Katz- "Pandemic Influenza 101"

Dr. William Candler- "Pandemic Influenza in the Workplace"

Chief Gerry Voelliger-"Managing A Pandemic Influenza Outbreak Using The National Incident Management System (NIMS)"

These links offer general information on various health concerns, several of which are thought to be likely candidates for use by terrorists:

Other related Emergency Preparedness links: