Nebraska’s overall emergency preparedness level stands at 7.5 on a 10-point scale, which is significantly higher than the national average of 7.1. That’s according to the 2018 National Health Security Preparedness Index, released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation last week.
Eric Sergeant is an administrator in the Division of Public Health who oversees the public health emergency preparedness and response unit.
Sergeant says the state exceeded the national average in three domains last year: health security surveillance, community planning & engagement and countermeasure management.
He says countermeasure management is the term public health uses when they set up a structure to give people medicine in an emergency.
"For example, if there’s a bio-terrorism attack and Anthrax is spread in one of the cities or one of the rural areas in Nebraska, we have plans and infrastructure set up so we can hand out those drugs to anyone who has been affected. The federal government has stockpiles of those drugs they can bring in to counteract specific acts of bio-terrorism. And our job is really to make sure we are ready to have those pills out to people and have the medicine ready that people need in that event.”
Nebraska improved by 11.7 percent in the countermeasure management domain from 2013 to 2017.
To view all the results, the website is https://nhspi.org/states/nebraska.