Delaware Emergency Management Agency Earns Accreditation

(Smyrna, Delaware) – On December 13, 2019, the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) officially earned accreditation by the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP). Only nine programs nationwide completed the rigorous assessment process in 2019 to achieve either initial accreditation or reaccreditation. This is the initial accreditation for DEMA and the State’s emergency management program.

“Congratulations to those programs that have maintained their accredited status as well as those who have joined the elite leaders in emergency management having earned accreditation through the Emergency Management Accreditation Program. Through their commitment and leadership, they have proven to their communities and stakeholders that their programs are sustainable and that they continue to focus on their communities’ best interests,” stated Nick Crossley, Director of the Hamilton County Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency and the EMAP Commission Chair.

Providing emergency management programs the opportunity to be evaluated and recognized for compliance with standards certified by the American National Standard Institute (ANSI) and recognized by the industry complies with EMAP’s mission to build safer communities through credible standards of excellence. These programs demonstrate accountability and focus attention on areas and issues where resources are needed to heighten their preparedness efforts to address any technical or natural disaster that may affect their communities.

To achieve accreditation, applicants must demonstrate through self-assessment, documentation and peer assessment verification that its program meets the Emergency Management Standard set forth by EMAP. The emergency management program uses the accreditation to prove the capabilities of their disaster preparedness and response systems. Accreditation is valid for five years and the program must maintain compliance with the Emergency Management Standard and is reassessed to maintain accredited status.

Through standardization EMAP revolutionizes emergency management programs that coordinate preparedness and response activities for disasters. In addition to obtaining the ability to measure those capabilities, EMAP recognizes the ability of emergency management programs to bring together personnel, resources and communications from a variety of agencies and organizations in preparation for and in response to an emergency. The Emergency Management Standard is flexible in design so that programs of differing sizes, populations, risks and resources can use it as a blueprint for improvement and can attain compliance with those standards in an accreditation process. The accreditation process evaluates emergency management programs on compliance with requirements in sixteen areas, including: planning; resource management; training; exercises, evaluations, and corrective actions; communications and warning; and administration. EMAP is the only accreditation process for emergency management programs.

DEMA Director A.J. Schall said “The team at DEMA started on this journey in 2018. Over the last eighteen months we have worked diligently to review our processes, plans, and relationships. Over that time, we learned a tremendous amount and modernized procedures.  This was a division-wide project and everyone on the team had an important part. I couldn’t be more proud for their dedication to the State.”

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Office of Animal Welfare Hosts Training on Emergency Sheltering for Companion Animals

AHA Trainor Jeff Eyre and his companion Dually lead classroom discussion on Day 1.
AHA Trainor Jeff Eyre and his companion Dually lead classroom discussion on Day 1.

DOVER – When severe weather forces people to leave their homes, no one wants to leave their pets behind. While emergency shelters used to refuse to accommodate companion animals, in recent years people are urged to take their pets with them. After Hurricane Katrina emergency agencies began to include pets in evacuation and emergency shelter plans. To ensure there is a place in Delaware shelters for pets, the Office of Animal Welfare’s Delaware Animal Response (DAR) program hosted an interactive, two-day training on how to set up emergency shelters for companion animals. The approximately 30 attendees are volunteers for the State Animal Response Team (SART), including animal rescuers, veterinarians or veterinary technicians, animal control officers, and members of the public who have an interest in disaster preparedness and response.

“When disaster strikes, we need to ensure safe shelter for both people and animals,” said Hetti Brown, Executive Director of the Office of Animal Welfare. “Through the engagement of a highly trained team of volunteers, we can provide a network of safe shelters across the state.”

The training provided attendees with skills for the planning and implementation of emergency shelters for companion animals during and after a disaster, whether at the local or national level. Topics included the identification, design, and set-up of emergency animal shelters; differences between temporary and co-location shelters; public information officer and media relations skills and duties; daily routines in the care of animals; creating a volunteer plan and managing volunteers during a disaster; and decontamination and demobilization of shelters.

“These trained volunteers will now have the skills to provide the critical management and staffing support necessary to set up and run successful animal emergency shelters during times of extreme need,” said Program Coordinator P. Jane Walmsley.

Students learn how to set up a medical area in an animal shelter.
Students learn how to set up a medical area in an animal shelter.

The training, which was funded through a federal grant, was provided by the American Humane Association (AHA), which hosts disaster preparedness trainings nationwide for animal welfare professionals.

The Division of Public Health’s Office of Animal Welfare, which manages the DAR program, was created to protect the health, safety, and welfare of companion animals, and promote the human-animal bond in Delaware. The office assumed responsibility for animal response in 2014 and immediately started to put together a plan for volunteer recruitment and training. Today, the program has more than 100 volunteers statewide.

For more information or to apply to become a State Animal Response Team volunteer, call 302-255-4628 or email p.jane.walmsley@delaware.gov.

And, to prepare your pet for an emergency evacuation:
• Identify evacuation options for your pets in advance, such as family and friends outside your area who are willing to take in you or your pets, pet-friendly hotels in the region, and boarding or veterinary facilities for your pets.
• Have a pet preparedness kit, which should include: a collar with ID tags and leash or harness; pet food and water (for at least three days but preferably a week); medications and a first aid kit; important documents in a plastic bag, including medical and vaccination records, license and microchip numbers, and any special instructions for your pet; current photos of you with your pet; a transport crate or carrier; bedding and toys; and sanitation supplies such as waste bags, litter and box, paper towels, and cleaner.

For further information on how to prepare your pet for an emergency, visit the Humane Society of the United States, or click here for the ASPCA’s website.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com. Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, drink almost no sugary beverages.


Delaware Update on Ebola Prevention and Preparation

Dover, DE – Joined by the State’s top health officials, along with infectious disease and emergency response experts, Governor Markell today provided an update on ongoing statewide efforts in response to the Ebola virus epidemic.Ebola Media Briefing

“We are facing an unprecedented situation with the Ebola virus, making prevention and preparation efforts vital,” said Governor Markell. “While the risk of transmission in Delaware is low, the State has been preparing for the potential of any Ebola cases for months to ensure we are in the best possible position to keep the public safe.”

While there are no cases in Delaware and the risk of transmission is low, the Division of Public Health (DPH) in the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) is working to ensure the appropriate screening tools and disease prevention strategies are used to further reduce any chance of transmission. These tools and strategies are based on the best currently available science, which tells us that Ebola virus is only transmitted by infected patients who have symptoms. The risk of getting the disease through normal, everyday contact is extremely low.

DPH is working closely with hospitals, medical providers, EMS companies, and many other partners to prepare, coordinate care, and provide advice and guidance. Issues being addressed by this group include how to screen for the disease, safe ambulance transportation of potential Ebola patients, personal protective equipment guidance and availability, hospital readiness, infectious disease monitoring, and protocols for any doctor’s office that might see a case.

“Delaware’s hospitals know that the best way to address Ebola is to prevent its spread. The Division’s approach to doing that is sound, science-based, and will help protect both Delawareans and the health care professionals who care for them,” said Wayne Smith, President and CEO of the Delaware Healthcare Association.

In addition, the Governor has directed engagement from all cabinet-level agencies to ensure statewide efforts are coordinated and comprehensive.

“If a case is confirmed in Delaware, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rapid response team would be on the ground to assist us,” said Secretary Rita Landgraf. “They would support the Division of Public Health to trace any potential contacts who might need to be monitored, have activity restrictions or, although unlikely, be quarantined. The CDC also would work with the State and the hospitals to determine if the ill patient should be moved out of state for treatment.”

In coordination with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), DPH is receiving notice of all travelers from the three West African countries, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia.

DPH is in daily contact with those persons to check their status and health, and will remain in daily contact throughout the 21-day period following their last potential Ebola exposure. If anyone shows symptoms of illness or a fever, they will be taken to the closest hospital for evaluation, and, if needed, isolation and testing. Currently there are 11 individuals in Delaware who are considered low risk that are being monitored. Eight live in New Castle County and three live in Kent County. “Low risk” is defined as having no known direct contact with a person infected with the Ebola virus.

Delaware is also designating “high risk” and “some risk” categories for those who have had direct contact with a person or people symptomatic with the Ebola virus. (See attached) These individuals will receive direct active monitoring for the 21-day incubation period by Division of Public Health staff, including daily visits. “High risk” individuals must also be quarantined at home and “some risk” individuals must limit their activities, including avoiding public transportation and large gatherings, and seeking approval from DPH to travel.

DHSS urges people not to make assumptions that someone might be infected based on their accent, background or skin color, and it is important to remember how hard the disease is to transmit.

If you wish to discuss a suspected case, you may contact DPH 24/7 at 888-295-5156, including weekends and holidays. If you have general questions, the CDC has a 24/7 line available for information on the Ebola virus at 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636).

Photos from Ebola Briefing

Video from Ebola Briefing

Ebola Monitoring Fact Sheet

For further Ebola information and resources visit the Delaware Public Health homepage.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit here.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, drink almost no sugary beverages.

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