Public health plays a vital role in emergency preparedness. After major disasters, public health workers are often called upon to participate in a coordinated response and to protect residents from disease outbreaks and other hazards due to contaminated food and water, chemical releases, insect-borne diseases, and unmet medical needs.
In Cambridge, the health department and other first responders lead the city’s disaster preparedness efforts. The department is focused on health emergencies that could potentially harm many people, such as pandemic flu, foodborne diseases, hazardous releases, natural disasters, and terrorism.
In addition to city preparedness activities, the Emergency Preparedness Division is responsible for preparing Cambridge Health Alliance hospitals and primary care sites for major emergencies, and coordinating preparedness activities for 27 communities (including Cambridge) that comprise Massachusetts Emergency Preparedness Region 4b.
From 2004 through September 2009, the Cambridge Public Health Department hosted an Advanced Practice Center for Emergency Preparedness, one of eight national demonstration projects funded by a grant from the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO).
For more information about the former Cambridge Advanced Practice Center or the national Advanced Practice Center program, visit www.naccho.org/apc.