Emergencies can be devastating - but it is possible to prepare for them. As professionals, we know that emergency preparedness is an ongoing, never-ending cycle. The ideas on this page will give you some concrete steps you can take to make your communities safer through planning, training, exercising, and evaluation.
Comprehensive, multi-hazard planning focused on enhancing response management improves coordination, information flow, communication, and authority relations during a disaster. Good planning is essential and luckily, there are evidence-based rules for it.
This is a data-driven guide which walks your community through a planning process, complete with templates, agendas and checklists.
These brief documents are designed to be easily read during an emergency. They describe impacts and sample actions which health departments might take in the first house of a variety of emergency scenarios. These are provided as tools which your organization could adapted as needed.
A plan is never enough. It's critical to build out the systems, resources and capabilities to get the job done.
Your people - both within your organization and in your community - are your greatest preparedness asset. Training gives them the knowledge, skills and abilities they need to complete their mission.
Bystanders have the potential to save lives and assist people after an emergency. Bystander Training provides an overview of how to recognize a suspected explosive device and what to expect after an explosion occurs. The training also presents specific steps a bystander can take with regard to reporting suspicious activity, communicating with victims and first responders, identifying psychological trauma, and taking additional training that will prepare bystanders for emergencies. The course takes approximately one (1) hour to complete.
These presentations were developed to train DOHMH staff and may be helpful as you build your own training programs.
Through simulated exercises, you test your plan and ensure clear roles for all people and organizations in your jurisdiction.
Throughout the cycle, you should be collecting lessons learned, evaluating research and improving both your knowledge of your jurisdiction and the capacity of your organization.
Many jurisdictions struggle with how best to complete a risk assessment. Learn about our process so you can adapt it for your own jurisdiction. (PDF)
Federal guidance states that vulnerability for emergency preparedness should be based on functional needs during a disaster. We agree with that, but then ask: How do we find those most in need? Our draft method and findings may help you (PDF)