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Preparedness Month 2018


Each September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with 3,000 global, national, regional, and local governments, as well as private and public health institutions support emergency preparedness efforts and encourage Americans to take action before, during, and after an emergency. Every community in the United States should be ready to respond to an infectious disease outbreak, chemical or radiological release, or natural disaster (1). Public health systems need the capacity to scale up and respond to emergencies (2).

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the great 1918 influenza pandemic with an estimated 50 to 100 million deaths (3). Planning and preparedness for all types of public health emergencies is vital to keeping communities safe. States and communities are developing preparedness plans and strengthening their ability to respond to a broad range of public health emergencies.

This year, CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response is highlighting four areas:

  • Personal preparedness – Communities are more resilient when people are prepared.
  • Pandemic planning – CDC works to protect the U.S. from seasonal and pandemic influenza.
  • Policy and partnerships – CDC plays a pivotal role in state and local readiness.
  • Public health response – The CDC Emergency Operations Center and the Division of State and Local Readiness bring together experts and state-of-the-art technology to detect and respond to public health emergencies, like the recent response to Zika featured in this issue.

Visit CDC’s Preparedness website for resources and publications to share with your family, friends, and community:


  1. CDC. In an Emergency You Can’t Respond Effectively if You Are Not Ready. Available at
  2. Redd SC, Frieden TR. CDC’s Evolving Approach to Emergency Response. Health Secur. 2017 Jan/Feb; 15(1):41-52.doi: 10.1089/hs
  3. Besler J, Tumpey TM. The 1918 flu, 100 years later. Science. 2018 Jan; 359(6373):255. DOI: 10.1126/science.aas9565