Emergency shelter training hosted by St. Louis County Public Health

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Public Health & Human Services Dept. • 320 West Second Street, Suite 605 • Duluth, MN 55802
Phone: (218) 726-2096 • www.stlouiscountymn.gov

Linnea Mirsch


Media note: This is an updated version of an earlier news release, correcting the day when media are invited to attend to Wednesday, April 26.


April 19, 2023

CONTACT: Scott Lesnau
Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, St. Louis County Public Health

218-471-7619 (office) • 218-780-9651 (cell)


St. Louis County Public Health hosts emergency shelter exercise

St. Louis County Public Health will be hosting a two-day training involving nearly a dozen county and tribal public health teams and other community agencies. The training exercise will be April 25-26 at the Iron Trail Motors Event Center in Virginia and will focus on setting up and operating an emergency shelter. In the event of a disaster or other serious situation that causes people to be displaced from their homes, it is the role of Public Health to work with the American Red Cross to provide shelter. Representatives from the Red Cross will be leading the training.


Local media are invited to attend the second day of training, which will include participants setting up a mock shelter and working through the necessary tasks such as handling the registration process, and providing health services, dormitory area and food. The best time for media to conduct interviews would be on Wednesday, April 26, between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.


This is the first large-scale shelter training conducted in this area since before the pandemic. 


"The Public Health field has seen a lot of change over in staffing these last few years due to retirements, job burnout and other factors," said Scott Lesnau, St. Louis County Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coordinator. "It's important that we offer this training now for newer employees to have a better understanding of our role during an emergency situation. Likewise, for those of us who've been around for a while, it's a great opportunity to better define people's roles and strengths before we're thrust into a real emergency."


"As was experienced with the Husky Refinery Explosion, you never know when you may need to help your community or neighbors," said Dave Snetsinger, American Red Cross Chapter Mass Care Lead. "The Red Cross is happy to help you be prepared for when that should happen."


One of the core responsibilities of Public Health is emergency preparedness. This involves working with healthcare systems, communities, and individuals, to prevent, protect against, quickly respond to, and recover from a variety of health emergencies.