What is Public Health Emergency Preparedness?
Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) -is the capability of the public health and health care systems, communities, and individuals, to prevent, protect against, quickly respond to, and recover from health emergencies, particularly those whose scale, timing, or unpredictability threatens to overwhelm routine capabilities. Preparedness involves a coordinated and continuous process of planning and implementation that relies on measuring performance and taking corrective action.
Public Health Threats can include but are not limited to, emerging infectious diseases, disease outbreaks, pandemics, chemical or radiological exposures, and bioterrorism. Fayette County Health Department is working with medical and emergency response partners at the local, state, and federal level to ensure the most effective response to public health threats
PHEP take the concept of Public Health one step further, assessing and helping to improve the community’s ability to prepare for and respond to a public health emergency. Recent events, such as Hurricane Katrina and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, have shown just how important it is for a community to be prepared for an emergency, whether natural or man-made. Public Health Preparedness officials work with government agencies and community partners to ensure that the community is doing everything that can be done to mitigate– or reduce- the risk of harm from an emergency, to prepare for an effective response when an emergency occurs, and to recover as quickly as possible.
Phases of Emergency Management
Public Health Preparedness utilizes the phases of emergency management when preparing for, responding to, and recovering from a public health emergency. We are always searching for ways to reduce the occurrence of such emergencies, and when we cannot prevent them from happening, to reduce their impact.Mitigation, or prevention, includes actions that reduce or eliminate long-term risk to life and property from a hazardous event and decrease the need for response.Preparedness includes plans and preparations made to save lives and property and to facilitate response operations.Response includes actions taken to provide emergency assistance, save lives, minimize property damage, and speed recovery immediately following an emergency.Recovery includes actions taken to return to normal or improved operating conditions following an emergency.