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

Emergency Preparedness and Response

Satellite image of a hurricane from space.

Looking for Hurricane Information? See CDC’s Tips To Keep You and Your Family Safe.

Improve the capacity of your program to address emergency environmental health threats and improve their emergency preparedness, response, and recovery using the resources below. This topic page contains links to resources produced by CDC’s Environmental Health Services Branch, our grantees, and other partners.

Tools & Guidance

CDC Shelter Assessment Tool – tool to help environmental health practitioners conduct a rapid assessment of shelter conditions during emergencies and disasters

Communicable Disease Control in Emergencies: A Field Manual [PDF – 1.4 MB] (World Health Organization, WHO) – information to help health professionals and public health coordinators in emergency situations prevent, detect, and control the major communicable diseases encountered by affected populations

Drinking Water Advisory Communication Toolbox  – protocol and practical guide for communicating with stakeholders and the public about water advisories that is based on research and identified practices

Emergency and Terrorism Preparedness for Environmental Health Practitioners – resources related to emergency and terrorism preparedness for environmental health practitioners

Emergency Water Supply Planning Guide for Hospitals and Health Care Facilities  – guide to help health care facilities regardless of size or patient capacity develop emergency water supply plans as part of their overall emergency operations plans

Guidance on Microbial Contamination in Previously Flooded Outdoor Areas  – guidance on how to assess the public health risks for using outdoor areas after a flood event

Guidance on Planning for Integration of Functional Needs Support Services in General Population Shelters [PDF – 7.3 MB] (Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA) – planning guidance for emergency managers and shelter planners to meet access and functional needs in general population shelters

Guidelines for Foodborne Disease Outbreak Response [PDF – 2.5 MB] (Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response) – comprehensive information for individuals and organizations involved in foodborne disease

Shelter Field Guide – FEMA P-785 (FEMA) [PDF – 2.3 MB] – basic overview of shelter operations for opening, operating, and managing an emergency shelter


Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication – training curricula for novices or professionals

Emergency Risk Communication for Public Health Professionals (Northwest Center for Public Health Practice) – training on how to plan for an emergency, create effective messages, and interact with the media and community in times of crisis

Environmental Health Training in Emergency Response (EHTER) – training on key environmental health issues and challenges for emergency response, such as food safety, water quality, wastewater disposal, shelter assessment/sanitation, vector control/pest management, solid waste/hazardous materials, environmental health response, and disaster management

Environmental Public Health Online Courses (EPHOC) – comprehensive online/on-demand package of courses for environmental public health practitioners including modules on solid and hazardous waste, hazardous materials, disaster sanitation, and radiation protection

Publications & Investigations

EMAC and Environmental Health in Emergency Response [PDF – 1.5 MB]  (Journal of Environmental Health) – article on the use of EMAC during emergency response and how environmental health can use EMAC

Emergency Preparedness and Response Publications – emergency preparedness and response publications from CDC’s Environmental Health Services Branch

The Role of Environmental Health Practitioners in a Public Health Emergency [PDF – 143 KB]  (Journal of Environmental Health) – article on the essential roles of environmental health practitioners in emergency response

General Information & Other Useful Links

Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange – ASPR TRACIE (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)

Environmental Health in Emergencies and Disasters: A Practical Guide [PDF – 3.7 MB] (WHO)

Federal Funding for Water and Wastewater Utilities in National Disasters – Fed FUNDS (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA)

National Health Security Preparedness Index on Environmental and Occupational Health

Public Health Emergency: Public Health and Medical Emergency Support for a Nation Prepared (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

The SPHERE Project – Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response