Public Health Emergency Preparedness
In recent years, the roles of responding to disasters and preventing the spread of disease have come to the forefront due to threats to national security and newly emerging diseases. These threats have increased our awareness of the need to be better prepared for not only future bioterrorist events but also other Public Health emergencies—such as a major food borne disease outbreaks or newly emerging infectious diseases such as Pandemic Influenza.
In Public Health, we take an "all hazards" approach to the planning and preparedness. So in our efforts, we are preparing for:
- Bioterrorism-related threats—such as anthrax or smallpox
- Serious disease outbreaks—such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Pandemic Influenza, Yellow Fever, and Dengue as well as many others
- Food or water contamination
- Weather-related incidents
- Hazardous materials spills
- Other terrorist events—including chemical, nuclear or radiological threats
While preparing for the possibility of any of these events, we also have the opportunity to strengthen our Public Health infrastructure. For example, we need to strengthen our ability to detect and investigate diseases, mitigate community workforce losses through education, vaccinations, and update our technology that will help us to communicate with other local, state, and federal resources. Building on these issues will allows us to not only respond better to emergencies, but also conduct our daily work in our communities more effectively.