Governmental public health agencies have responsibility for limiting the extent of death and disability in the event of a public health emergency, such as a bioterrorism attack; a naturally occurring infectious disease epidemic; an earthquake, flood, hurricane or other natural disaster; or any event that has the potential for significant health impacts. Public health emergency preparedness and response are a subset of public health practice. Public health preparedness capabilities involve both activities directed at preventing possible public health emergencies and activities directed at planning to ensure an adequate response if an emergency occurs. Relevant public health preparedness activities include the following:
List of Relevant Links to Tools and Guidance
ReadyNH is a source of current, usable and practical information on preparing for emergencies for all New Hampshire residents. The site has tools for families, kids, businesses, people with special needs, and volunteers, and will be a source of information for the public in times of emergency.
Emergency Preparedness Brochure...(read more and download)
A new brochure designed to help NH's families prepare for emergencies is now available. The brochure includes a checklist of recommended supplies to have on hand in emergencies and an emergency contact information card.
The NH DHHS web page for all information and resources regarding avian influenze. This page includes information about the All Hazards Region planning efforts, the Pandemic Preparedness Coordinating Committee and other resources.
NACCHO [Word, 28kb]
NACCHO has produced a number of recommendations for local health officials to consider in your work to assure that local participation in the emergency preparedness planning process is guaranteed, that local issues and needs are addressed in the plans, and that an appropriate portion of funds go to the local level. Read the full document online.
Public Health Emergency Preparedness: Fundamentals of the "System" [PDF, 268kb]
National Health Policy Forum Background Paper, April 3, 2002
This paper examines the existing public health infrastructure with an emphasis on the resources and activities necessary for public health emergency preparedness and response. It provides a brief historical overview of the evolution of public health and contrasts public health interventions with medicine and health care services. The paper summarizes the broad range of activities that constitute public health practice today and provides a more detailed review of functions and services that are critical to emergency response capabilities. It explores the legal foundation for public health authorities, discussing constitutional, federal, and state public health law. The paper also summarizes how public health is organized and structured at all levels of government and discusses the roles and responsibilities of the multiple organizations responsible for responding to a public health emergency.
CDC website devoted to Emergency Preparedness and Response includes various reports and tools to support preparedness including:
Guidelines for Large-Scale Influenza Vaccination Clinic Planning, 2004-05 [PDF, 348kb]
To facilitate the most efficient and safe delivery of available vaccine to the priority groups, these guidelines have been developed to assist with planning large-scale influenza vaccination clinics by public and private vaccination groups. Ideally, plans from private and public groups should be shared to identify best practices, avoid unnecessary overlapping of services, and maximize the effective and efficient delivery of influenza vaccinations. (Centers for Disease Control, 2004)
Breathing Easier? The Report of The Century Foundation Working Group on Bioterrorism Preparedness
In the final report of the Working Group on Bioterrorism Preparedness, a group of leading public health policy experts and practitioners conclude that the new federal funding has resulted in considerable improvements to the U.S. public health system, but that substantial vulnerabilities remain. The group found that without clearer definitions of what constitutes preparedness and standards for achieving it, the infusion of funds may not succeed in enabling the public health system to respond effectively to a future bioterrorist attack. (Leif Wellington Haase, The Century Foundation, 1/13/2005)
Public Health Risks of Disasters: Communication, Infrastructure, and Preparedness (2005)
The Institute of Medicine released a disaster planning book to assist with preparedness. The report considers issues related to health risks of disasters, how the United States will rise to meet these challenges, and what research and training priorities for communication, infrastructure, and preparedness are needed to strengthen the response to health-related risks.
Public Health Law Checklists
Three checklists are provided in PDF format for voluntary use by county, city, state, and federal public health agencies in assessing their legal preparedness for public health emergencies. These checklists, developed in collaboration with CDC's Public Health Law Program and in consultation with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) address three important components of public health emergency legal preparedness as follows:
Incident Management System (NIMS)
NIMS integrates effective practices in emergency preparedness and response into a comprehensive national framework for incident management. The NIMS will enable responders at all levels to work together more effectively and efficiently to manage domestic incidents no matter what the cause, size or complexity, including catastrophic acts of terrorism and disasters.
The benefits of the NIMS system will be significant:
National Response Plan [PDF, 4.3mb]
National Response Plan (NRP) describes the structure and processes comprising a national approach to domestic incident management designed to integrate the efforts and resources of Federal, State, local, tribal, private-sector, and nongovernmental organizations. The plan includes Emergency Support Function (ESF) Annexes which detail the missions, policies, structures, and responsibilities of Federal agencies for coordinating resource and programmatic support to States, tribes, and other Federal agencies or other jurisdictions and entities during Incidents of National Significance.
Overview of Issues and Guiding Principles for Health Risk Communication
The purpose of this Primer, "Overview of Issues and Guiding Principles for Health Risk Communication", is to provide a framework of principles and approaches for the communications of health risk information to diverse audiences. The Primer is devoted to a discussion of issues and guiding principles for communicating health risk accompanied by specific suggestions for presenting information to the public and for interacting effectively with the media.
WHO Risk Communication Guide [pdf 452kb]
The World Health Organization has prepared a shortlist of outbreak communication best practices. The guide lists effective risk communication components which had direct relevance to outbreaks.