A Stronger Public Health through Community Partnership

Public Health Emergency Preparedness

The purpose of Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) is to increase our nation’s emergency readiness and response capabilities to an array of public health threats, including infectious disease outbreaks, natural disasters, and chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) events. Local PHEP programs, such as NMPHEP, strengthen communities by ensuring public health emergencies are effectively managed through the coordination of local personnel and resources, particularly when the scale, timing, or unpredictability of an event threatens to overwhelm routine capabilities. Preparedness involves a coordinated and continuous process of planning, partnership, coordination, and implementation that relies on measuring performance and taking corrective action.

What is a Public Health Emergency? 

A public health emergency is an event that places a serious strain on the public health and healthcare infrastructure within a community and requires immediate intervention. These events are unusual and/or unexpected and may result in the spread of an infectious or hazardous agent to throughout the population. It can be caused by epidemic/pandemic disease, bio terrorism event, or a novel and highly fatal infectious agent or biological toxin that poses a substantial risk for a significant number of human fatalities or incidents of permanent or long-term disability.

Medical Countermeasures

One of the primary goals of PHEP is to protect the public through the distribution of Medical Countermeasures (MCMs) during a public health emergency. MCMs are defined by the CDC as life-saving medicines and medical supplies that can be used to treat, prevent, diagnose, or protect from infectious disease or CBRN threats.

Health Department Roles in an Emergency 

  • Local Coordination of Resources

  • Operate Points of Dispensing Sites or PODs

  • Medical Countermeasure Distribution and Dispensing

  • Inform Public About Health Issues

  • Disease Surveillance

  • Maintain Environmental Security

  • Local Planning Efforts

  • Community Partnerships

Protecting Our Communities 

Community Preparedness 

Community Resilience relies on the ability to develop informed, empowered, and resilient healthcare systems and residents. With adequate information, resources, and tools, communities are better prepared to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond, rebound, recover, and adapt to threats and all-hazards.

Emergency Public Information & Warning

Emergency public information and warning is the ability to develop, coordinate, and disseminate information, alerts, warnings, and notifications to the public and incident management responders.


Open points of dispensing 

Open Points of Dispensing are coordinated, staffed, and operated for dispensing Medical Countermeasures to the general population in strategic locations throughout the community. Open PODs are operated by public health experts and volunteers. Open PODS are meant to serve the entire public. 

Medical Countermeasure Dispensing 

Medical countermeasure dispensing is the ability to provide medical countermeasures (including vaccines, antiviral drugs, antibiotics, antitoxin, etc.) in support of treatment or prophylaxis (oral or vaccination) to the identified population in accordance with public health guidelines and/or recommendations.

closed points of dispensing 

Closed Points of Dispensing are locations that operate by a private business or organization for a specific population (i.e., its employees, their families, and clients).  Closed PODS ARE NOT open to the public.  Operating as a Closed POD provides a business and its employees with extra security during a public health emergency. 

Community Recovery

Community recovery is the ability to collaborate with community partners, (healthcare organizations, business, education, and emergency management) to plan and advocate for the rebuilding of public health, medical, and mental/ behavioral health systems to at least a level of functioning comparable to pre-incident levels, and improved levels where possible.

A Collaboration of Local Health Departments