Bedford Belongs to Public Health Emergency Preparedness Region 4

Volunteers are the back bone of emergency preparedness; a new Sushi restaurant opens; and a new board member is introduced

By Ann Kiessling, Ph.D.

Public-Health-LogoSince 2002, the Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) cooperative agreement, administered by the Centers for Disease Control, has provided over 9 billion dollars to public health departments across the nation to upgrade their ability to respond to a range of public health threats, including infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical and nuclear outbreaks.

The National Response Framework , 2008, outlines the core plans for guidance and implementation

Bedford Board of Health director, Heidi Porter, attended the PHEP Executive Committee meeting in Burlington and reported back to the Board of Health at their November meeting that PHEP grant funds have decreased annually and she is now concerned about over-reliance on volunteers and volunteer communications in the event of a true emergency.  She reported she has asked the Region 4 executive committee to consider strategies other than hats and badges to acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of volunteers who respond.

New Board Member and Keeping of Animals Regulations

In other matters, the board welcomed its new member, Mary Seymour, who replaces Carolyn Connelly, and attorney Cheryl Sbarra of the Massachusetts Association of Health Boards who has been consulting with the board on revisions to Bedford’s Keeping of Animals Regulations.

Attorney Sbarra answered questions from the Board and the public in attendance about specifics of the current version, including the number of livestock, e.g. chickens,  that could be kept without needing a permit or a public hearing.  Attorney Sbarra will discuss some modifications to the current revision with Director Porter who will post an updated draft of the Keeping of Animals Regulations on the Board of Health website prior to the next scheduled meeting on Wednesday, Dec 14th, 7 pm in Town Center.  The December meeting schedule is a change from the Board’s regularly scheduled meetings on the first Monday of each month.

New Sushi Restaurant

The Board unanimously approved a food license to the new Blue Fuji Restaurant opening up in the former space of Asiana at 200 Great Road.  Because Blue Fuji will serve sushi, it will be inspected by Bedford’s Board of Health inspector more often than other restaurants, and presented its in-depth food safety plan to the Board’s satisfaction.

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