The Northeast Health District‘s Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response is responsible for providing coordination and support during a public health emergency.
Emergencies are handled at the local level first, and each community must have its own plan. This requires multi-agency partnerships that include local, state, federal governments, hospitals, first responders (e.g., firefighters, police, EMTs), and others. We work together with local agencies to ensure that we have plans in place for any and all emergency situations that may arise (“all hazards planning”): natural disasters, severe weather, disease outbreaks, pandemics, industrial accidents, chemical spills, and terrorist attacks. We regularly assess, update, and improve these plans by conducting emergency preparedness drills and exercises with our community partners.
Emergency Support Functions
Emergency support functions (ESFs) refer to the grouping of governmental capabilities that provide support, resources, program implementation, and services that are needed to save lives, protect property, restore essential services, and help communities return to normal during emergencies. There are 15 ESFs, and the Northeast Health District’s Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response addresses the following emergency support functions:
ESF 6: Mass Care, Housing and Human Services
Mass care includes sheltering, feeding operations, emergency first aid, bulk distribution of emergency items, and collecting and providing information on victims to family members.
Housing involves providing both short-term and long-term homes for victims. This may be accomplished through rental assistance, repairs, loans, manufactured housing, and access to other sources of housing assistance.
Human services include efforts to reunite families, meeting the needs of vulnerable populations, efforts to accommodate pets and service animals, coordinating volunteers, and distributing donated goods.
ESF 8: Public Health and Medical Services
Public health and medical services include surveillance of the community for threats to the health of the public, provision of medical care personnel, equipment and supplies, provision of mental health services, mass fatality management, patient movement, and assurance of food and drug safety and security.
Strategic National Stockpile Points of Dispensing
In the event that a bioterrorist attack, pandemic, or other incident results in the need for the entire population to receive medications or vaccinations in a short time-frame, the Northeast Health District’s Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response is prepared to respond. We maintain agreements with a variety of community sites – schools, churches, and other locations – that would function as points of dispensing (PODs). We also maintain specially equipped trailers that could be deployed to areas in need, serving as mobile PODs. These POD sites would then be used to dispense medicines or vaccines from the Strategic National Stockpile, with coordination provided by Public Health employees and staffing provided by community volunteers.
For a customized emergency plan that includes a detailed checklist with items specific to you and your family’s needs, as well as a communications plan to help you reconnect after an emergency, visit Ready Georgia.gov and create a user profile.
Local Community Emergency Response Teams
- Athens-Clarke County CERT
- Barrow County CERT
- Jackson County CERT
- Oglethorpe County CERT
- University of Georgia CERT
- Walton County CERT
189 Paradise Boulevard
Athens, GA 30607
Emergency Preparedness Manager: Sarah Peck
Emergency Preparedness Specialist: Chris Tucker
Healthcare Community Liaison: Elisabeth Wilson
Training Coordinator/Risk Communicator: Brad Williford