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Emergency Preparedness

The Public Health Emergency Preparedness Clearinghouse is a central repository for emergency preparedness-related statutes, regulations, orders, reports, and legal tools. The Clearinghouse is intended to aid jurisdictions considering updates and clarifications to their public health emergency legal preparedness activities.

Zika Activities and Updates

  • Zika Resources
    Resources and information developed by the Public Health Law Program to address potential questions from responders and the public about Zika-related legal issues.

Ebola Activities and Updates

  • Ebola Resources
    Resources and trainings developed by the Public Health Law Program to address potential questions from responders and the public about Ebola-related legal issues.

Model Memoranda of Understanding

Public Health Law Bench Books

  • Bench Books
    Commonly used by judges as functional practice guides to accelerate their understanding of an area of law. States have public health law bench books for the judiciary; public health officials; state and local public health attorneys; and the public.

Toolkits, Handbooks, and Other Publications

  • Emergency Declarations and Tribes: Mechanisms Under Tribal and Federal Law 
    Tribes have inherent authority as sovereign nations to undertake measures to prepare for and manage public health emergencies in the manner most appropriate for their communities. Coupled with existing federal statutes, there are multiple mechanisms for tribes, either directly or through a state or the US federal government, to declare an emergency or receive the benefits of a federal declaration. This article summarizes several types of emergency declarations, including tribal declarations, Stafford Act declarations, and federal public health emergency declarations, and their implications for tribes. Sunshine G, Hoss A. Emergency declarations and tribes: mechanisms under tribal and federal law. Michigan State International Law Review 2015;24:33–44. 

  • Legal Preparedness: Care of the Critically Ill and Injured During Pandemics and Disasters: CHEST Consensus Statement
    Discusses legal suggestions developed by the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) Task Force for Mass Critical Care to support planning and response efforts for mass casualty incidents involving critically ill or injured patients. Published in CHEST Journal, v. 146, 4 Supp. (Oct. 2014).
  • Public Health Preparedness: Examination of Legal Language Authorizing Responses to Radiological Incidents [PDF 669KB]
    Assesses state and local laws that authorize restriction of movement and decontamination of people during a radiological event. Offers radiation legal preparedness guided questions for stakeholders. The assessment is a the result of a partnership between the CDC’s Public Health Law Program, CDC’s National Center Environmental Health, Radiation Studies Branch, and the National Association of County and City Health Officials.

  • Legal Barriers Toolkits
    Toolkits to help public health officials understand and use legal authorities to prepare for and respond to public health emergencies. They cover emergency authorities and immunities, emergency use authorizations, public health and schools, and scope of practice issues. Developed by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and the Public Health Law Program.

  • Selected Federal Legal Authorities Pertinent to Public Health Emergencies [PDF - 150KB]
    Lists federal laws that address preparing for and responding to a range of natural and man-made disasters and emergencies. The list includes a brief description of the law and a citation.

  • Social Distancing Law Assessment Template
    A standardized template for assessing legal authorities, hypothetical scenario and instructions for conducting a Legal Consultation Meeting, and examples of completed documents.
  • Court House Preparedness for Public Health Emergencies (Univ. of Pittsburgh) [PDF-852KB]
    A case study demonstrating how Pennsylvania counties have conducted emergency planning that includes a planning template and planning resources.
  • Criminal and Epidemiological Investigations Handbook [PDF-3.06MB]
    Provides an overview of criminal and epidemiological investigation procedures involving interactions between law enforcement and public health. Law enforcement and public health officials should read the entire handbook to understand the different goals and needs of the other organization before an event occurs. This handbook will teach public health and law enforcement how to work together to identify the biological agent, prevent the spread of the disease, avoid public panic, and apprehend those responsible.

Training and Educational Resources

Vulnerable Populations

  • Older Adult Emergency Preparedness Web Portal
    A web portal that serves as a one-stop source for further resources, tools, and information related to all-hazards preparedness for older adults. Focus areas include developing plans, collecting and using data, registries, training and competency, law-based solutions, caregiver preparedness, and sheltering older adults.

Webinars

  • Ebola and the Law: What You Need to Know
    This webinar, co-sponsored by The Network for Public Health Law, PHLP, and the American Health Lawyers Association, describes the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, discusses legal issues that arise when infected patients enter the United States, and explores the legal powers and duties of health department personnel if an Ebola outbreak occurs in the United States. (08/12/2014)
  • One Year of Ebola—Legal Issues and Considerations
    This webinar, sponsored by the American Health Lawyers Association and PHLP, examines the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, legal considerations implicated in the U.S. response to the outbreak, state Ebola screening and monitoring policies and their evolution during the past year, and how healthcare settings are legally preparing for the next threat. (11/20/2015)
  • Zika Preparedness and Response: A Public Health and Legal Perspective
    This webinar, co-sponsored by the Partnership for Public Health Law, the American Public Health Association, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, the National Association of County and City Health Officials, and the National Association of Local Boards of Health, provides an overview of the public health problem posed by Zika, discusses the domestic legal framework for addressing the virus, and highlights ways to coordinate health care and public health legal preparedness. (03/18/2016)
  • Tribal Emergency Preparedness Law and Practice
    Both tribal laws and federal laws can affect emergency preparedness practice. This webinar, hosted by the Network for Public Health Law, describes how law can affect tribal emergency preparedness practice and discusses legal mechanisms for emergency declarations. (Sept. 24, 2015)
  • Hospital Legal Preparedness: Understanding the Role of the Law When Hospitals Face Emergencies
    This webinar, hosted by the Association of Healthcare Emergency Preparedness Professionals, outlines general principles of effective quality assurance and performance improvement for legal preparedness for hospitals and illustrates the necessary components of a defensible hospital emergency management program. (12/8/2015)

Disclaimer: Information available on this website that was not developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not necessarily represent any CDC policy, position, or endorsement of that information or of its sources. The information contained on this website is not legal advice; if you have questions about a specific law or its application you should consult your legal counsel.

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