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Public Health Emergency Response Guide for State, Local, and Tribal Public Health Directors

Cover of Response Guide

Download the entire 4" x 7.75" Response Guide (prints on 8.5" x 11" paper)
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   Spanish Learn more about Adobe Acrobat Reader (317 KB/69 pages)


Download the 8.5" x 11" templates available in the back of the guide


State, local, and tribal health departments play an extremely important role in all-hazards emergency preparedness and response. Public health professionals within these departments should have immediate access to guidance and information that will assist them in rapidly establishing priorities and undertaking necessary actions during the response to an emergency or disaster. The National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH), Division of Emergency and Environmental Health Services (EEHS) has developed an all-hazards public health emergency response guide to address this need.

The Public Health Emergency Response Guide for State, Local, and Tribal Public Health Directors is an all-hazards reference tool for health professionals who are responsible for initiating the public health response during the first 24 hours (i.e., the acute phase) of an emergency or disaster. It provides useful information on the activation and integration of a jurisdiction’s public health system into the existing emergency response structure during the acute phase of an incident. It also contains guidance that is applicable to specific types of incidents, such as floods, earthquakes, and acts of terrorism.

The guide is not a substitute for emergency preparedness activities and is not intended to replace existing emergency operations plans, procedures, or guidelines within a jurisdiction’s health department. It is consistent with the doctrine, concepts, principles, terminology, and organizational processes in the National Response Plan (NRP) and the National Incident Management System (NIMS).

Two versions of the guide are currently available to state, local, and tribal public health departments: a pocket-sized field version and a pocket-sized training and education version. The pocket-sized field version measures 4" x 7.75" and is made of an extremely durable, water-resistant, synthetic material appropriate for field response. The training and education version is identical to the field version, but is made of a high-quality paper appropriate for education and training in a classroom setting.

Guide users are encouraged to submit feedback on the effectiveness and utility of the guide in incidents, exercises, training and education programs, and other ways in which the guide is being used. To obtain a copy, submit feedback, or for more information on the Public Health Emergency Response Guide for State, Local, and Tribal Public Health Directors, please contact Martin A. Kalis at (770) 488-4568 or

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