Public Health Preparedness
The Department of Health's mission of promoting healthy behaviors, preventing injury and disease, and assuring the safe delivery of quality health care for all people in Pennsylvania, must continue at all times, even during disasters and emergencies. The Department's Bureau of Emergency Preparedness and Response works to ensure that even during these times of crisis, the public's health and medical needs can still be addressed. The team does this through coordination with local, state and federal partners as well as private entities, including hospitals and other healthcare providers. The Bureau coordinates preparedness and response planning, training and exercises to ensure that the Department is able to respond effectively to these disasters and emergencies. The Bureau also supports these activities by providing coordination and management of public health and medical components of the response across the Commonwealth.
Residents whose needs may not met by traditional service providers or may not comfortably or safely access those resources during a disaster or emergency are categorized as special populations. This can include residents with a functional disability like physical limitations, developmental disabilities or mental illnesses. Non-English speaking residents, or those who are geographically or culturally isolated, may also be at risk during an emergency. Additionally, homeless Pennsylvanians, people with pets and service animals and those who care for people with special needs may need assistance.