Emergency planning has become increasingly important in the United States due to changing and often unpredictable weather patterns, new disease threats, and the rise of global terrorism.
The Cambridge Public Health Department leads public health planning efforts for the City of Cambridge, Cambridge Health Alliance, and the Region 4b communities.
The health department’s planning philosophy is guided by three principles. The first principle is that plans must have the flexibility to work in a variety of crisis situations. This “all-hazards” approach to planning allows communities and hospitals to prepare for an array of possible natural and human-caused disasters.
The second principle is that public health emergency planning requires collaboration with other first responders, municipal agencies, and city leaders. The Cambridge Public Health Department seeks to build partnerships across disciplines—hospitals, fire, EMS, police, emergency management, and public works. This multidisciplinary approach is critical to successful emergency response. In a real crisis—such as a disease epidemic or terrorist incident—first responders from various disciplines must act as one team to coordinate an effective response.
The third principle is that partnership-building must extend outward into neighboring communities because many hazards faced by towns and cities cross municipal boundaries. This is especially true in eastern Massachusetts where the land area of many cities and towns is less than 15 square miles.
Revised on September 30, 2009