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JCAHO seeks to prepare small communities for natural disasters. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) issued a step-by-step guide called Standing Together: An Emergency Planning Guide for America's Communities. Designed for small towns and rural communities, the guide provides a blueprint for responding to catastrophic public health emergencies such as hurricanes, floods, terrorist attacks, toxic spills, and disease outbreaks. Says Dennis S. O'Leary, MD, president of JCAHO, "Communities need to grasp the reality that they may well be largely on their own for several days following a major disaster."


The comprehensive guide details 13 essential steps local governments and public health leaders can use for disaster planning. It also includes real-world suggestions based on the experiences of communities across the country. For details, go to http://www.jcaho.org and click on the news release under "Headline News."