A member of the Audrain County Health Department (ACHD) has been appointed to a national advisory group through the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). ACHD Emergency Planner and Public Information Officer (PIO) Chris Newbrough has been appointed to the NACCHO Radiation Preparedness Advisory Group and will begin his duties for the 2-year term on July 1.
“I’m very honored to have been given this appointment by NACCHO,” Newbrough said. “This workgroup will help Audrain County become better prepared in the case of an emergency at the Callaway Nuclear Power Plant in Callaway County, or any radiological accident that may happen in Audrain County via air, rail or road.”
While Audrain County is not in the expected wind field if a release was to happen at the Callaway Nuclear Power Plant, Newbrough says it’s an issue that still needs to be prepared for in case it does happen one day.
“The thought is that even though we are not in the predicted wind field of fallout from the plant if a release should occur, we are going to see refugees coming into Audrain County that are residents of Callaway County that may need help when they get here,” Newbrough said. “My hope is to use what I learn in this workgroup at the national level and bring it down to the local level so that we can be better prepared to protect our residents and those that come to Audrain County looking for help in the event of an incident.”
ACHD Administrator and CEO Craig Brace says having an employee appointed to a national group such as this will help not only Audrain County, but also other counties like Audrain County in similar situations.
“Audrain isn’t alone in the fact that, while they are probably not going to be directly impacted by a radiological accident, they could potentially be impacted by an influx of those seeking help from an affected county,” Brace said. “Having Chris on this group is important in not only strengthening our response in Audrain County but he will be able to help other counties without access to groups like this with what he learns from the national group. We’re happy he is willing to serve in this capacity.”
The Radiation Advisory Group currently meets on a bi-monthly basis. Activities done by the group in the past year included the development of resource tracker to capture national, state and local level radiation preparedness resources. The workgroup also supported a half-day, in person radiation workshop at the April National Preparedness Summit in Atlanta, with approximately 35 participants.
Newbrough has been with the ACHD since September of 2014 and took over the role of Emergency Planner and PIO full-time in late 2020. Before that, Newbrough served as co-planner and PIO for the department.