Environmental Health Training in Emergency Response (EHTER)
EHTER helps prepare environmental health professionals 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 Awareness Level (online) – CDC’s popular awareness-level course has been revamped in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The course addresses the role of environmental health responders in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from emergencies and disasters, including issues and challenges in disaster management, responder safety and health, safe water, food safety, wastewater, building assessments, vectors and pests, solid waste and debris, shelters, and radiation. The original version of the course is still available from the National Environmental Health Association.
EHTER Operations Level (in person) – This 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.
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, hurricanes, floods, and wildfires. Learn more about EHTER participants and responses in
Why EHTER Is Needed
Several assessments demonstrated the need for emergency preparedness and response education and training for environmental health professionals. But, 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 collaborated with federal, state, and local public health and environmental health partners to develop a comprehensive training program.
Environmental health professionals 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 professionals 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.
- EHTER Awareness Course
- EHTER Operations Course
- Emergency and Terrorism Preparedness for Environmental Health Practitioners
- NCEH Prepares Environmental Health Workers for Emergency Response
- CDC Natural Disasters and Severe Weather
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- Page last reviewed: September 29, 2017
- Page last updated: September 29, 2017
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