ST. MARTINVILLE – In December of 2008, Sheriff Ronny Theriot assembled a Pandemic Flu Task Force within the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office to address protocols and resource availability in the event of an outbreak.

Based on that meeting, subcommittees were formed to handle specific tasks within the department. Sheriff Theriot stated “Our objective with forming the Task Force was to maintain continuity of services to the citizens of St. Martin Parish in the event of an outbreak.”

On Monday, Representatives of the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office, Office of Public Health, St. Martin Parish Government, and St. Martin Hospital were present during a conference call with Governor Jindal. Following the press conference, Sheriff Ronny Theriot began taking proactive measures to maximize resource availability of first responders in the event of an outbreak in St. Martin Parish. On Tuesday, the Task Force reconvened and met with a Representative from the Department of Health and Hospitals to discuss preventative and proactive measures that SMSO can take both in their physical facilities and with their personnel. The importance of hand washing was discussed and copies of proper hand washing techniques were e-mailed to each SMSO Employee and a copy of such was placed in each restroom at each SMSO facility. Additionally, individual anti-bacterial canisters are being purchased for distribution to SMSO Employees along with biocide cleaner and personal protective equipment to be utilized at all divisions within the Sheriff’s Office should an outbreak occur.

With some school closures taking place across the nation and in the Acadiana area, the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office staff began visiting Parish schools yesterday to present information and literature on proper hand washing sanitation procedures, as well as information on the Swine Flu virus itself. Materials were also provided to the Superintendent of Education, Mr. Richard Lavergne for further distribution.

Sheriff Theriot said “We would like our citizens of St. Martin Parish to know that the Sheriff’s Office is well prepared and we are ready to maintain services and provide assistance should an outbreak of Swine Flu occur.” SMSO will continue to maintain contact with the Department of Health and Hospitals and will continue to monitor this present situation.

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