Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content

Environmental Health Training in Emergency Response (EHTER)

Students prepare to conduct an environmental health building assessment following a simulated disaster during the EHTER Operations course.

EHTER helps prepare environmental health practitioners and other emergency response personnel by providing them with the necessary knowledge, skills, and resources to address the environmental health impacts of emergencies and disasters.

Register Today for Our EHTER Courses

EHTER Operations Level (in person) – This new course trains participants to identify problems, hazards, and risks; plan for team response; select appropriate equipment and instrumentation; perform required tasks using environmental health response protocols; and report and participate in follow-up activities as instructed. Most of the course involves hands-on operation practice and response to simulated events. This in-person course is available through a partnership with FEMA (at the Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, Alabama). FEMA covers all training costs (travel, lodging, and meals) for state, local, and tribal responders taking the course.

EHTER Awareness Level (online) – This awareness level course addresses key environmental health issues and challenges for emergency response and recovery, including disaster management, responder safety and health, safe water, food safety, wastewater management and disposal, building assessment, vectors and pests, solid waste and debris, shelter assessment and sanitation, and radiation. A revamped introductory course developed by CDC and FEMA will be available later this spring through FEMA’s Independent Study Program.

Testimonials and Impact

“Excellent course, I attended in August and two other staff from our Environmental Health Division have attended as well and agree it was a valuable and interesting course.”
John Alden, RS, Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program Manager, Yuma County Public Health Services District

“I feel very fortunate to have attended the EHTER course when I did…the CSX train derailment in Madison County on March 12, 2007, served as a prime example of why we need to be prepared for such emergencies. … The concepts covered during the EHTER course were very helpful during the emergency and our subsequent response activities…we hope to secure the same training for all county environmental health staff as well as other public health staff and emergency responders.”
Geoffrey Snyder, Environmental Health Director in Madison County, New York

Thousands of environmental health practitioners from the United States and around the world have successfully completed EHTER. Training evaluations have consistently shown marked improvement of student preparedness knowledge after taking EHTER. Participant feedback has been very positive and has led to continuous improvements in the training. Participants demonstrate real-world application of the concepts and information learned, improving response and recovery capacities during actual emergencies and disasters such as power outages, a train derailment with release of hazardous materials, tornadoes, and wildfires. Learn more about EHTER participants and responses in

Why EHTER Is Needed

Several assessments have demonstrated the need for emergency preparedness and response education and training for environmental health practitioners. However, before EHTER there was no national, comprehensive, standardized education and training program in this area.

To address this need, CDC’s Environmental Health Services Branch (EHSB) collaborated with federal, state, and local public health and environmental health partners to develop a comprehensive training program.

Environmental health practitioners perform many critical functions during emergency response and recovery, such as conducting shelter assessments, testing drinking water supplies, performing food safety inspections, and controlling disease-causing vectors. EHTER prepares environmental health practitioners such as sanitarians and environmental health specialists by providing them with the knowledge, skills, and resources to address the environmental health concerns that result from emergencies and disasters.

CDC experts are also working closely with the International Federation of Environmental Health to develop and deliver EHTER-based courses and workshops internationally. For more information, please visit.

Additional Information

Questions? Contact