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Bureau of Public Health Emergency Preparedness
About the Bureau
The Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response was created to detect and respond to natural or intentional disease events. Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is the program mission to ensure that the public health system of Arizona is prepared for public health emergencies.
Preparedness & Planning
The Emergency Preparedness and Planning Office works with numerous internal, governmental and community partners such as county health departments, hospitals and the Arizona tribes to enable public health to respond to an emergency. Specifically, these agencies have plans to receive and dispense antibiotics and medical supplies to the community during a bioterrorism event or disease outbreak. Some of the areas of planning include:
- Overt and covert bioterrorism
- Emerging infectious disease outbreaks
- Pandemic influenza
- Flooding Power outage
Inclusion of the Department into the State-wide Emergency Management System is taking place in conjunction with emergency first responders and hospitals. This will enable the Department to communicate with these two very important response entities. In addition, the Office has a Food Biosecurity program geared to assist the county environmental health departments and tribes in educate their stakeholders in this area and recognize food security risks.
Since 2000, the Arizona Department of Health Services, Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response, has coordinated or participated in dozens of emergency exercises. These exercises are of three varieties:
- Table Top Exercises – designed to bring emergency response partners together in a room to work through scenarios and identify gaps in planning
- Functional Exercises – designed to field test systems and portions of plans to further determine gaps in response systems
- Full Scale Exercises – field exercises the fully testing plans, personnel, equipment, and systems
Notable Department Exercises:
- November 2002 – Full scale exercise of the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) system. The Exercise tested the requesting, receiving, breakdown, transportation and distribution of the SNS to county dispensing facilities and tested the largest counties’ ability to deliver mass prost-exposure prophylactic antibiotics to thousands of mock victims.
- May 2004 – Regional Tabletop exercises, including local health departments and the majority of the state’s hospitals, designed to test the ability of public health and health care to coordinate resources during an emergency.
- March 2005 – Arizona Department of Health Services Health Emergency Operations Center (HEOC) Drill (full-scale exercise). This exercise involved a call-down to the Department’s key decision-makers via the Department’s Health Alert Network. The HEOC was fully operational and waiting for their arrival within one hour.