September is Emergency Preparedness Month and while the TriCounty Health ‘Flu Shoot Out’ event has been postponed, Director Jordan Mathis didn’t miss the chance to present on public health preparedness at the Vernal Chamber luncheon this week. Using the Spanish Flu as an example, Mathis asked what would happen if there was a public health event now. He explained that among the impacts would be high absenteeism from work and school as well as shortages of supplies. TriCounty Health tracks all communicable diseases locally and continually trains and prepares for the possibility of a public health event. The annual ‘Flu Shoot Out’ is one example as they use it as an opportunity to practice a method of vaccinating large numbers of people. Citizens are urged to prepare their own families by practicing good health practices, getting all needed vaccinations including the flu shot, and having a family plan and supplies on hand in case of emergency. Households should have at least 72-hour portable kits that include water, food, medication, and other supplies. Families should establish a plan in the event of an emergency that includes setting up communication lines with family and friends, identifying a gathering place, and making arrangements for children and pets if caretakers are stuck at work during an emergency. Finally, it’s important for families to practice what they plan.

Partnered with TriCounty Health, a service utilized by many local families that was discontinued last year is renewing service. TriCounty Director Jordan Mathis confirmed during Tuesday’s Chamber Luncheon that the Children with Special Health Care Needs program is returning. Previous clinics of the Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) was a contract the health department used to have with specialists from the University of Utah hospital that gave Basin families a chance to get needed services without traveling to Salt Lake City. The specialists came out to TriCounty Health locations several times a year. It was devastating to some families when they learned that the clinics were discontinued so the fact that they will soon resume is exciting news to many. The program saves a lot of time and frustration and saves on traveling to the Wasatch Front for multiple appointments. For more information or to add a name to the waiting list, call 435-247-1196.

TOP or the Teen Outreach Program in Uintah County has found a unique way to highlight the youth in their program supported by TriCounty Health Department. The ‘TOP in a Box Art Show’ uses photography to show the world through the eyes of these outstanding youth. About 10 youth from Vernal Middle School are participating in the photovoice project that “gives the youth the opportunity to show others the TOP program through their eyes, through their perspective and to give others a greater understanding of what TOP is, what the youth do, and how they feel about the program.” The public is invited to come and see this unique art show and for everyone to meet the youth behind the photos and to learn how to become involved in the worthy local causes. The public event will be held May 4th from 4 to 6pm at TriCounty Health Department in Vernal.