127. Imagining the Worst: COTS Ohio on Emergency Preparedness in Ohio

Prognosis Ohio

127. Imagining the Worst: COTS Ohio on Emergency Preparedness in Ohio

April 24, 2023

127. Imagining the Worst: COTS Ohio on Emergency Preparedness in Ohio

On episode 127, Dan talks with Sherri Kovach and Jodi Keller with COTS Ohio about mass casualty preparedness in Ohio.


1:26 Assessment of Ohio’s state of preparation and scenario planning 

7:30 Learning from the response to the East Palestine train derailment

15:08 The challenges of operating in the background 

19:36 Fostering collaborating in cultures of competition

21:30 – COTS and national emergency preparedness

23:30 – The 2024 Eclipse 

Jodi and Sherri talk about planning for the worst case scenarios, coordinating the EMS response, and training with hospitals for such events. The thing that really keeps COTS up at night are “no-notice” incidents during a time when hospitals may already be overwhelmed and understaffed. They mention the shootings in Dayton, Columbine, Florida, and Las Vegas, as examples.

COTS coordinates two healthcare coalitions, the Central Region Coalition with 15 counties and Southeast/Southeast Central Coalition. The coalitions are made up of hundreds of members that may be part of the healthcare response: hospitals, EMS, EMA, public health, long term care, dialysis centers, etc.

Funding for COTS comes from the federal government’s Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) through the Ohio Department of Health.

Sherri gives a special shoutout to Red, White, and Boom and the security and emergency response preparation for that event.

They mention the stabbing at the Ohio State University in 2016 and how they learned some processes that they now have in place, including a notification process and communicating to get blood in. In response to the blood shortage at trauma centers during the COVID pandemic, COTS helped develop a shared plan among hospitals to conserve blood. COTS is already preparing for the eclipse on April 8, 2024

Learn more about COTS on their website.


  • Dan mentions the current budget season, which he talks about with Tara Britton and Kelsey Bergfeld on episode 121.
  • Dan brings up the train derailment in East Palestine. Listen to the Prognosis Ohio episode with River Valley Organizing and the Ohio Environmental Council discussing this disaster.
  • One of Dan’s public health heroes, Franklin County Health Commissioner Joe Mazzola, praised COTS and the work they do.

Hosted and produced by Dan Skinner. Copywriting and production support by Angela Lin. Engineering support by Mike Foley, curator of the WCBE Podcast Experience. Prognosis Ohio is a member of the WCBE Podcast Experience and the Health Podcast Network. Prognosis Ohio is a production of Prognosis Ohio, LLC.

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