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Love County Emergency Planning Committee

Public officials and volunteers from across the area established the Love County Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) in 2007. The purpose is to devise a safe and expedient system to protect citizens from a public health emergency, such as a flu pandemic, or a bioterrorism event. The committee is chaired by the emergency management director of Marietta/Love County. Members include representatives from volunteer rural fire departments, law enforcement agencies, public health, hospital/clinic, Love County EMS, public schools, business, city/county government, and interested citizens. All completed required coursework from the Federal Emergency Management Administration of Homeland Security in the incident command system for coping with public emergencies.

In June 2007, the committee engaged in a preparedness drill. The exercise gauged the effectiveness of this area’s plan for vaccinating and/or medicating everyone in Love County within a period of 48 hour. Points of distribution were established in Marietta and at Falconhead, and 400 members of the public volunteered as “patients” to drive through the sites and receive mock immunization medicine.

An additional purpose of distribution sites is to keep the “well” public from converging on the hospital/clinic, which must confine itself to treating the seriously ill or injured. The hospital/clinic practiced its emergency response, including lock-down steps, during the drill.

The LEPC meets periodically under the direction of Tracey Smithwick, emergency management director for City of Marietta/Love County (telephone 580-276-5861). Smithwick is also a source for contacting the Love County Fire Chiefs’ Association and Love County Storm Watchers.

In the event of a public emergency requiring immunizations or medication for the public, no single public agency, such as the health department, law enforcement, or hospital/clinic could do the job alone. The work of the Local Emergency Planning Committee is vital. If you are able to become part of the emergency response effort in Love County, please contact Smithwick at 276-5861.

During a public emergency, you will be able to receive information about vaccination, medication, shelter sites, or evacuation by calling the 2-1-1 helpline.