Emergency Management Program
Within CDC’s Office of Readiness and Response, the Division of Emergency Operations (DEO) administers the agency’s Emergency Management Program (EMP) to ensure CDC is ready to respond to public health emergencies and emerging threats. The EMP relies on a trained response workforce, response plans and standard operating procedures, and the infrastructure to respond effectively. A critical component of that infrastructure is CDC’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), which is operational 24 hours/day.
Emergency Operations Center
The EOC serves as a location for public health experts to monitor public health threats on a daily basis and manage emergency responses to those threats. During a public health emergency, CDC activates its Emergency Operations Center, which can support discrete aspects of small- and medium-scale responses or manage and track every part of a large-scale response. The EOC brings together experts and modern technology to coordinate resources and information.
What We Do
EOC staff monitor information to help keep us safe 24/7. The EOC’s Watch Desk receives alerts about potential public health threats from:
- State and local authorities
- International partners
- Other public health partners
During emergencies, staff within the EOC:
- Deploy scientific experts to support public health emergencies.
- Ensure that deployed staff have mission-critical resources and equipment.
- Coordinate the delivery of supplies and equipment to the incident site.
- Monitor all response activities and respond to calls 24/7/365.
- Provide resources to state and local public health departments.
CDC assesses what worked well during a response and what the agency can improve before future responses.
The agency prepares after-action reports and improvement plans. These include assessments of:
- how well the response operations met objectives,
- recommendations for correcting gaps or weaknesses, and
- plans for improving response operations.
CDC responded to more than 60 public health threats from its EOC since 2003. These threats include natural disasters, foodborne disease outbreaks, environmental emergencies, and infectious diseases. The EOC Response Timeline showcases major CDC efforts toward public health emergencies from 2003–2023.
CDC offers the Public Health Emergency Management (PHEM) Fellowship program to strengthen and build emergency management capacity globally. Learn more about the PHEM training and additional in-country technical assistance.