Report: Nevada Near Bottom For Health Emergency Preparedness
A new report ranks Nevada as one of the states least prepared for an emergency, based on 10 indicators aimed at protecting against disasters, disease and bioterrorism.
The Silver State scored just four out of 10; only Montana and Kansas scored worse.
Despite the findings, local health and emergency officials say they think Nevada is much better off than the report says.
"It would be foolish to say that we ever would be fully prepared," Dr. Randall Todd said. "As long as we are constantly moving towards being more prepared, we're serving our citizens as best we can."
Todd is the Director of Epidemiology and Public Health Preparedness and says the "Ready or Not?" report doesn't give the Silver State enough credit.
One example is the sandbagging efforts for possible flooding of the Truckee River just three weeks ago.
"We spend a lot of time planning and training so we can respond and recover quickly from disasters," Washoe County Emergency Manager Aaron Kenneston said.
Kenneston says Nevada should have actually scored higher.
For one, we did not get a point for being accredited by the Emergency Management Accreditation Program two weeks ago.
"The report hasn't been published but I'm told that we were conditionally accredited," Kenneston said.
Looking at health, the report says Nevada fails to vaccinate 90% of toddlers for Pertussis, also known as Whooping Cough.
But there is a requirement for the vaccination for school entry, which officials say adds even more protection.
"The proof is sometimes in the pudding," Todd said. "We have been surrounded by states that have had large-scale outbreaks of Pertussis and yet, here in Washoe County, we have had just a few sporadic cases of Pertussis."
The report also says Nevada does not participate in a nurse licensure compact, allowing out-of-state nurses to help in an emergency.
But the state actually passed something similar, last session.
Officials do say there are some positives to take away.
"This is a great opportunity for us to engage in conversation about everyday preparedness and make sure that we review reports like this and our after-action reviews, of past events, to ensure that each time we get better," Kenneston said.
The report also points out that budget cuts threaten progress across the country.
Nevada is one of 14 states that has cut funding three years in a row.