The Picture of Health. Public Health Improvement Plan
Emergency Preparedness

Public Health Emergency Preparedness

A public health emergency is any crisis situation that may affect the health of the population and require a broad community response.
  • A natural disaster may result in contaminated drinking water, a food shortage or a displaced population that needs medications or emergency medical care for injuries. 
  • Chemical, biological and radiation emergencies, whether natural, accidental or the result of terrorist activities, will always affect the public’s health. 
  • Epidemics or pandemics, such as the spread of salmonella or an unknown strain of flu, will require a sustained response that focuses on meeting the social and health care needs of the region.

Emergency situations place unique demands on resources, responders and the general population.  Resources such as food, water, medications, transportation and medical care may be scarce.  Communication with the community must be clear and concise.  In order to sustain a long-term operation, responders may need to be supported in non-traditional ways, such as having the option of child-care or coordinated transportation.  The victims of any disaster, and their first responders, will need access to mental health supports.  Communities must have plans in place to address their own continuity of operations.  Meeting all of these needs during a crisis requires detailed planning in advance of an event. 

The SSCHC is working with emergency response and public safety officials, municipal agencies, health and human service organizations and schools to ensure that regional emergency planning and response efforts address the protection of public health to the fullest extent possible. These planning efforts increase the region’s capacity to respond to all public health emergencies, regardless of their origin.

For specific information about the SSCHC’s Public Health Preparedness Efforts, please click on any of the following topics: