Thursday, August 12, 2010

Community Email - Doors Open in D.C.

Good Evening Neighbor:

I have returned from D.C. and amazed at the doors that appear to be opening for The National Clearing House for Chemical Emergencies.  I met with the lead staffer for the Science and Technology Committee - Oversight and Investigations for the House of Representatives.  He really liked the proposal and began to help me think through possible barriers and questions to take back to the Chemical Emergencies Work Group.  And,  I did take these items into the meeting on Tuesday.  I could not believe it  when  the group became very excited about the concept and began to talk more and more about it  - taking up our work group time.  Then throughout the rest of the meeting I kept hearing it included in other recommendations.  But I have to say,  the most miraculous thing that happened is that the very M.D. from Yale University who helped to develop Poison Control happens to sit on our work group and I never knew it.  He was quick to say how workable the plan was and sat with me at the end of the meeting to further integrate the appropriate language and funding source for this endeavor.  We expect to have the final draft in the next couple of weeks and I will share it with you all.  

I used the recent chemical disaster in Athens, GA as an example as to how The Clearing House could have given the responders and community immediate assistance.   A lot of the talk has been about providing more training for first responders but the facts are that sometimes communities have only volunteer responders and if they do have paid staff they often do not have the money to send them to training.  So it is a must that there be a Clearing House to give guidance in an emergency to responders as well as alert the local hospital of the emergency so they can immediately prepare to help those who are exposed.  

I could not be more grateful for the doors that continue to open.  The day that a community is able to pick up the phone and get immediate assistance will be the day I truly rejoice!!

Your neighbor,


Connie Biemiller Thomas

As Margaret Mead once said:

Never underestimate a few committed people to change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. 

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