Emergency Preparedness and Response:
What CDC Is Doing
“People prepared for emerging health threats—people in all communities will be protected from infectious, occupational, environmental, and terrorist threats,” is one of CDC’s four health protection goals. CDC plays a key role in preparing the nation for all types of public health threats, including natural, biological, chemical, radiological, and nuclear incidents. When a disaster occurs, CDC is prepared to respond and support national, state, and local partners to save lives and reduce suffering. CDC also helps these partners recover and restore public health functions after the initial response.
The Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (OPHPR) provides strategic direction, support, and coordination for CDC’s preparedness and emergency response activities. Other CDC organizations and programs are also improving our ability to prepare for and respond to public health emergencies, including pandemic influenza.
CDC’s role in national preparedness and response
National emergency preparedness requires a coordinated effort involving every level of government as well as the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and individual citizens. CDC’s work in preparedness supports the Department of Homeland Security, which has overall authority for emergency response activities as laid out in the National Response Framework.
Protecting the public from health threats involves public health preparedness as well as medical preparedness. Both are essential for national health security and, hence, to the overall preparedness of the nation.
- Public health preparedness is the ability of the public health system, community, and individuals to prevent, protect against, quickly respond to, and recover from health emergencies, particularly those in which scale, timing, or unpredictability threatens to overwhelm routine capabilities.
- Medical preparedness is the ability of the health care system to prevent, protect against, quickly respond to, and recover from health emergencies, particularly those whose scale, timing, or unpredictability threatens to overwhelm routine capabilities. Medical preparedness generally is the responsibility of agencies other than CDC.
How CDC Strengthens Public Health Preparedness
Because of its unique abilities to respond to infectious, occupational, or environmental outbreaks and events, CDC plays a pivotal role in public health preparedness for catastrophic events. CDC focuses on strengthening response capabilities internally within the agency as well as externally by providing resources to help strengthen preparedness at state, local, tribal, and territorial levels. Many preparedness activities occur on a daily basis, such as monitoring for real or potential public health emergency threats. These and other types of activities can be expanded to respond to emergency scenarios such as pandemic influenza.
- Content source: CDC Emergency Risk Communication Branch (ERCB), Division of Emergency Operations (DEO), Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (OPHPR)