In recent years, the roles of responding to disasters and preventing the spread of disease have come to the forefront, due to threats to our nation and newly emerging diseases. These threats have increased our awareness of the need to be better prepared, not only for future bioterrorist events, but other public health emergencies.

Public Health Preparedness is the ability of local health departments to respond to all emergencies with a detailed plan of action and a system of communication that will include hospitals, law enforcement, fire, emergency medical service and other emergency response agencies. Taylor County Health Department has a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with fourteen surrounding Local Public Health Agencies in Northern Wisconsin to assist us with a public health emergency if our resources are limited.

Public Health’s role within the response system includes:

  1. Detecting disease outbreaks
  2. Investigating to determine what the risks are to the public and who may have been exposed
  3. Informing the public and professionals of the specific disease threats and how to protect themselves and others
  4. Managing infected persons
  5. Isolating or quarantining affected individuals as appropriate
  6. Providing medications or vaccinations to people at risk in the population

Key preparedness activities

To better prepare our communities for an emergency, Taylor County Health Department is involved in the following activities:

  1. Preparing written emergency plans and conducting exercises and drills to test the plans
  2. Strengthening partnerships with other emergency response personnel
  3. Creating a system to distribute supplies of medicine and equipment needed during an emergency
  4. Recruiting response volunteers, both medical and non-medical
  5. Establishing mutual aid agreements among neighboring public health agencies
  6. Enhancing communications capacity
  7. Strengthening disease surveillance systems
  8. Creating a round-the-clock, personnel alert and notification system
  9. Training public health personnel in key public health preparedness areas