Heroes of Infection Prevention 2008
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Preparing for Disaster
Wanda Lamm, RN, BSN, CIC
Nash Health Care Systems
Rocky Mount, NC
An infection preventionist’s foresight and hard work make her county a state leader in bioterrorism and pandemic. Even before the infamous September 11, 2001 attack on America occurred, Wanda Lamm had the foresight to see the importance of teaching bioterrorism preparedness.
“I went to the North Carolina APIC conference in which there was a tabletop preparedness drill, and I got to thinking, ‘We need to do something like this in our area,’” said Lamm, infection control coordinator for Nash Healthcare Systems, Rocky Mount, NC.
“So in August 2001, we had a community-wide drill with all our partners. We had experienced Hurricane Floyd in 1999, so that was a good learning experience.”
The participating agencies formed a bioterrorism committee that has since expanded into committees: The Nash County Disaster Preparedness Committee and the Nash County Pandemic Flu Preparedness Committee. Both continue to meet quarterly, and are composed of representatives from the hospital, city, and county law enforcement, fire department, EMS, home and mental health agencies, the public school system, the Red Cross, United Way, Nash County Public Health Department and local businesses.
Lamm and her colleagues are major champions of education in both their hospital and their community. Over the past decade, Lamm’s work has focused on pandemic flu and bioterrorism preparedness. She continues to teach classes on pandemic flu and bioterrorism preparedness through the community.
“There have been other, smaller incidences that occurred over the years,” said Lamm. “Just having that partnership with the other agencies, which continue to this day, has helped play such a vital role in our preparedness efforts.”
Asked if she feels her community is well prepared for an event such as a pandemic, thanks to the ongoing efforts of all these agencies, Lamm said, “I honestly don’t know if anyone can say they’re in good shape if a pandemic strikes.”