A “public health emergency” may be defined as an event, either natural or manmade, that creates a health risk to the public.
What could be considered a public health emergency?
Severe weather (storms heavy rains, lightning strikes)
West Nile Virus
Contaminated Drinking Water
Biological Threat (deliberate or accidental)
Chemical Threat (deliberate or accidental)
May be in the form of a gas, solid, or liquid
Hazardous materials waste
Nuclear power plant emergency
What does my county health department do in case of public health emergency? The Marion County Health Department detects and responds to public health emergencies to keep your family safe by:
Surveillance or monitoring any health-related changes or patterns
Investigating underlying causes
Responding as part of a team
Planning ahead for emergency situations
Educating citizens about emergency preparedness
Surveillance “Surveillance” or the tracking or health-related changes or patterns by the Marion County Health Department team is the foundation of preparedness for a public health emergency. This means health care specialists collect, analyze, and interpret data in order to predict health events.
Investigation The Marion County Health Department investigates reported illnesses and disease outbreaks and personally interviews victims in order to collect and document illness signs and symptoms. This information helps to develop case definitions so that others suffering from the same infection/contamination can be identified and treated.
Response The Marion County Health Department is ready to respond immediately with the staff, medications, and action plans needed to keep your family safe during a public health emergency. In the event of a public health emergency, your health department team:
Responds as part of a county-wide team
Follows a County Emergency Operations Plan
Communicates with the local media to keep you informed
Recovery The Marion County Health Department provides help and recovery in the aftermath of an emergency or disaster as a partner with other emergency responders. How does your health department team assist?
Making sure the food and water supply are safe
Ensuring appropriate sanitation practices are followed
Following up on surveillance issues for infectious disease or radiation exposure
Linking people to community resources
Planning Ahead The Marion County Health Department has the staff, medications, and action plans in place to keep you and your family safe. Education The Marion County Health Department educates you and your family about emergency preparedness.