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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 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 man-made 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, outpatient clinics, EMS, and long-term care sites. 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.

Updated on July 17, 2018



If you have questions about public health emergency preparedness in Cambridge, please call 617-665-3816.

If this is an emergency, please call 911.


Cambridge Public Health Department
119 Windsor Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
617-665-3800 (main)
617-665-3888 (fax)
617-643-0744 (TTY)

Hours: Monday-Friday:
8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
After Hours

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Derrick Neal
Chief Public Health Officer



Cambirdge Health Alliance

Cambridge City
City of Cambridge