Opinion

Nassau County Legislator Roger Corbin (D-Westbury) urges special needs, faith-based and minority residents to attend the Nassau County Department of Health Emergency Preparedness Program community meeting to learn how to prepare for an emergency. Strengthening our Training on Emergency Preparedness (S.T.E.P.) will take place on Tuesday, May 19 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Hempstead Community Center, Kennedy Park, 335 Greenwich Street. Creole and Spanish translators will be available.

"Many people in Nassau County don't know what is available to them in the county in case of an emergency and the health department does not have any contact information to reach them," Corbin said. "And because there has been no communication, the health department doesn't even know what the needs of these people are. By exchanging ideas at this meeting, you'll be setting up a plan of action with those who can help you in the event of an emergency. And you'll find out how to protect yourself, prepare your family and your community."

Participants at the meeting will receive a free "Go-kit" packed in a sturdy backpack to start residents on their way to "self-preparedness." Refreshments will be served.

For further information and to RSVP by May 18 contact Fayola Creft at 573-0752 or fayola.creft@hhsnassaucountyny.us.

"I'm sure you have heard about the outbreak of swine flu. In Nassau County we have seen a single suspect case at this time. Medical professionals are being extraordinarily cautious and are monitoring the situation to ensure the safety of residents.

"The Nassau County Department of Health will continue to communicate with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the New York State Department of Health as well as hospitals, other healthcare facilities, medical societies and schools.

"In order to prevent the spread of any flu you should seek treatment as soon as you begin to feel sick. Call your doctor first to alert the office that you might have the flu before going there or before you head to the hospital emergency room.

"Swine flu symptoms are similar to those of regular flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Try to avoid close contact with people who are sick and when you're sick, keep your distance from others. And if you think you have the flu, stay home.

"Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If you do contact the flu be sure to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Try to avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs can spread when a person touches something that is contaminated and then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth.

"Additionally, don't use aspirin to reduce a fever in children under 18 because there are complications that may result. Use medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen instead.

"To build up your resistance get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

"The Nassau County Health Department will update the community as new information arises. You can go to the following website to get more information on swine flu: www.cdc.gov/swineflu/. To find information on how to be prepared, go to: http://emergency.cdc.gov/preparedness/. Residents can call the New York State Swine Flu Hotline 1-800-808-1987 or the Nassau County Health Department at 227-9497."

During the April 20, Legislative meeting, Nassau County Legislator Corbin, voted to approve a bill that provides a reimbursement to volunteer firefighters, EMS personnel and auxiliary police officers for tuition at a college of their choosing. The reimbursement would be capped at the existing cost of tuition at Nassau Community College.

"This is a win-win situation. We get to show our appreciation to our first responders and they get the opportunity to further their education by attending college," said Corbin. "This bill will help to ease the cost and burden of going to college, therefore making it more affordable. I have always been committed to helping these brave men and women who risk their lives to help us everyday."

The funding for this initiative will come through a federal grant that will be applied for by the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management. To qualify for the reimbursement, a first responder must be a member in good standing with a volunteer emergency service and meet college admissions criteria.


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