ORANGE COUNTY- The Orange County Health Department recently received a top honor at the national level for its preparedness to keep residents protected in case of a public health emergency.

The Department received a perfect score of 100 on the 2013 Strategic National Stockpile Plan.

“That’s a major accomplishment,” says Orange County Health Director Colleen Bridger. “I worked in another county before coming here, and we were lucky to get a 70. In fact, in previous years in OrangeCounty, we haven’t come anywhere near 100.”

The Strategic National Stockpile, or SNS, was originally developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when smallpox outbreaks were a major concern. It was designed as a way to quickly deliver large amounts of medicines to various communities across the country. OrangeCounty received its perfect ranking based on 90 points of criteria as determined by the CDC.

OC Health Dept. Public Health Preparedness Coordinator Pat Gentry says the county has been participating in the plan for the past 6-7 years.

“We may request medications in the event of any type of chemical, biological, or nuclear event, or even just a natural disaster,” she says.

And Bridger says the credit shouldn’t go to the Orange County Health Department alone.

“We work very closely with emergency management, local law enforcement, the sheriff’s department, and we have volunteers in our medical reserve corps that we would mobilize in this situation,” she says. “All of the staff that works in Orange County government would be involved in some way if this were to occur.”

For more information on the Strategic National Stockpile, click here.