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FOR RELEASE: September 22, 2004
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications

State Health Deploys Teams to Florida Panhandle for Relief Efforts

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) announced today that it is deploying two teams to the Florida Panhandle to participate in relief efforts there following the destruction left by Hurricane Ivan.

Oklahoma’s teams are the first out-of-state public health department teams to respond.

Each 16-member team includes 10 public health nurses, five administrative clerks, and one county health department administrative director.

Volunteers from 18 county health departments as well as personnel from the central office in Oklahoma City signed up to participate following a personal request to the OSDH Chief of Nursing from the Florida Department of Health’s Nursing Office.

The volunteers left this morning for Tallahassee, Fla., where they will then be sent to the staging area at Milton, Fla. They will be deployed for seven days. Although it is unknown what their exact assignments will be, teams have been advised that conditions are dire and they will receive a work assignment immediately upon arrival. It is anticipated the teams will be involved in providing tetanus shots, administering other kinds of medical care, and conducting door-to-door canvassing to determine the needs of those affected by the hurricane and the storms it spawned.

Lodging, transportation and meals will be provided by FEMA.

“This is truly public health in action,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Mike Crutcher. “This provides a wonderful opportunity to help the people in Florida and to gain experience in emergency response. We are most pleased that we are able to help.”


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