What is a Public Health Emergency?
A public health emergency is the occurrence of an event that has a serious public health impact and requires immediate intervention. It is unusual or unexpected and will likely result in the spread of an infectious or hazardous agent to other jurisdictions. It can be caused by bio terrorism, epidemic or pandemic disease, or a novel and highly fatal infectious agent or biological toxin that poses a substantial risk for a significant number of human fatalities or incidents of permanent or long-term disability.
Role of Health Departments in Emergencies:
- Disease Surveillance
- Inform Public About Health Issues
- Provide Lab Services
- Provide Shelter Inspections
- Maintain Environmental Surety
- Operate Points of Dispensing Sites or PODs
Local Planning Efforts:
The health department needs to have a plan in place to provide medication to 100% of the population within 48 hours. Medication will be dispensed at locations called Point of Dispensing (POD) Sites throughout the community. Some of these will be open to the general public and are thus referred to as Open PODs. Others, called Closed PODs will be held at private businesses or organizations meant to serve a specific population.
How you can get involved:
Whether you are a business that can host a Closed POD, a church or school willing to host an Open POD, or a volunteer, this website details how you can get involved with Emergency Planning and Preparedness within your community. As you can imagine, planning to provide prophylaxis to our entire population is no simple feat. We need YOUR help!