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      Emergency coalition seeks formal approval

      The state of Iowa requires Wapello County Public Health and the Ottumwa Regional Health Center to develop and promote emergency preparedness, and also a response and recovery plan over the course of the next five years.

      The City of Ottumwa is a participant of the county's healthcare coalition along with government entities and non-profit organizations.

      On Tuesday, Health and Inspections Department director Jody Gates is asking City Council members to approve a formal memorandum of understanding of the Wapello County HealthCare Preparedness Coalition to authorize the mayor to sign.

      "When you've got a formal memorandum of understanding, then everybody knows what their roles are," Gates said. "They practice those roles, and in the event that they're ever called during an emergency, they know what they're supposed to do."

      Gates says in the event of a disaster like a restaurant flooding or catching on fire, for example, the Health Departmentâ??s Role is to lead inspection services, working within the guidelines of this county-wide emergency prep group.