Public Health Emergency Planning and Response
Many emergencies have a public health component. We have a regional role in public health emergency planning and response for emergencies such as;
- Natural disasters (e.g. earthquakes, tsunamis, flooding, volcanic eruptions)
- Man-made disasters
- infectious disease outbreaks
- environmental hazards (such as hazardous substance and chemical spills incidents)
During an emergency, Health Protection Team staff undertake public health actions including controlling outbreaks, border health activities and advising the public how to stay safe and well. Medical Officers of Health and Health Protection Officers have specific powers in an emergency to help prevent the spread of an infectious disease.
We contribute a valuable public health perspective during emergency events and work closely with the many agencies involved. The level of our response depends on the event. This ranges from providing health advice for the public to our Medical Officers of Health using their authority to close schools and inspect ships or planes.
During an event Health Protection Team is focused on ensuring that:
- Safe drinking-water is available;
- Environmental hazards (such as air pollution) are decreased to safe levels
- People are given information on how to keep themselves physically and mentally healthy before, during and after an emergency; and
- The risk of infectious disease is minimised.