WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - The Health Department in Wichita Falls is getting more money to help the community prepare in case of emergency. The Wichita Falls City Council passed an ordinance today to renew a grant for public health emergency preparedness. The grant is for $120 thousand dollars.
We've experienced it first hand right here in Texoma - rising flood waters and devastating tornados. Within moments people can lose their homes, valuables, and even their lives. That's why Health Department officials say they want to make sure residents are prepared.
"It allows us to work on preparedness for our community. It's an all hazards preparedness. We are educating people about what they need to do in case there is a flood or a tornado."
The Health Department has been receiving this grant funding annually for the past 11 years. Most of the grant pays for two employee salaries. They educate people about the importance of being ready.
"Do you have a kit ready in your home so if something happens you would have a weeks worth of food supplies? Would you have all your important documents?"
Health officials say part of the grant money is used for education. The other part is used to monitor when someone goes to the emergency room with an ailment. They fed their symptoms into a database so they know how many people report a certain set of symptoms.
"We can look at that and look at trends and know whether we're seeing an unusual occurrence of some kind of disease burden in our community and they can do an investigation based upon that."
Health officials say it's not just about day to day preparedness for things like natural disasters. It is also about making sure the community is ready in case of something like a Zika Virus outbreak.