Ready to respond
Your county health department is ready to respond to any type of public health emergency.
Your county health department is the information source in a public health emergency. Your local health department works as part of a countywide team and has a County Emergency Operations Plan in place to keep you and your family safe.
For several years, your county health department has coordinated efforts with healthcare providers, hospitals, and emergency service agencies to prepare for the unexpected. Your public health team is prepared to activate emergency plans and communicate with the local media to get you the information you need.
Your county health department is part of a group of health departments that make up a Public Health Bioterrorism Preparedness Region. The regional group meets regularly to discuss operational structures, resources, communications efforts, mutual aid, and more. Your county health department will share information with other health departments and coordinate efforts with partnering agencies such as law enforcement, emergency medical services, fire and rescue units, hospitals. American Red Cross, Coroner's Office, blood centers, mental health crisis teams, and others.
Staff members of your county health department participate in local and regional training exercises to increase their knowledge and experience in dealing with public health emergencies. Past exercises have included topics such as how to prepare for a bioterrorist attack on the food supply, responding to a pandemic influenza, and disaster communication. Annual bioterrorism training summits are also held in downstate Illinois.
In the case of a bioterrorist event, access to vaccinations and other equipment, supplies, and medication may be an immediate need. Your county health department has a dispensing plan in place to handle this scenario. The State of Illinois has a "pharmaceutical stockpile" in place, and the federal government has medication and supplies stored through the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). The SNS program ensures life-saving medications and supplies are available to counter health risks during a public health emergency. Vaccines and medical equipment can be quickly transported to the scene of any large disaster.
Local health departments are on the frontlines of public safety when it comes to preparedness. Strong partnerships and collaborative planning among all emergency response agencies results in effective and efficient responses.
Organizations your county health department may partner with in the event of a public health emergency include:
- Fire Department
- Law Enforcement
- Emergency Medical Services
- American Red Cross
- Sheriff's Department
- Emergency Management
- Coroner's Office
- Illinois Department of Public Health
- Illinois Emergency Management Agency
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
- Department of Homeland Security
- Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)