Public Health Emergency Preparedness Division
The Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) program plans for, monitors, and coordinates response to hazards and emergencies pertaining to public health. Our primary focus is the health and safety of the citizens of Cochise County.
PHEP works with other public health programs and other local partners to develop strategies to better protect the public in the event of a public health threat or emergency. PHEP prepares for and responds to public health threats and emergencies, such as:
- Communicable disease outbreaks
- Healthcare system surge
Emergency Response Planning
The PHEP program is also responsible for the development of emergency response plans including:
- Epidemic detection and response
- Use of the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) supplies
- Mass vaccination of the general public
- Mass fatality incidents
The PHEP program also facilitates communications between local health providers, regional healthcare coalitions, and the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS). These communications are maintained via a Health Alert Network (HAN or AZHAN in Arizona) which is an infrastructure of secure Internet connections, fax machines and satellite connections. The AZHAN makes rapid dissemination of important public health information and alerts possible.
Public health professionals continually assess the general health of the community through various surveillance methods. By tracking certain diseases and syndromes (groups of symptoms) within the community, local surveillance provides the information needed for public health decision-making and establishing public health priorities. Epidemiological surveillance is also be managed by the PHEP program by creating a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week communications infrastructure utilizing AZHAN to send and receive urgent disease and public threat information.
It is vital to keep the public informed concerning public health issues. Information is regularly distributed to the media, health professionals, and the public through news releases, public service announcements, email, and newsletters.
The PHEP program maintains a risk communication plan that will keep the public informed during a public health emergency such as a bioterrorism event or pandemic. The plan includes various ways to provide consistent information to the media and public in order to share valuable information and address concerns.
- Development and distribution of Public Service Announcements
- Development of risk communication plan
The PHEP program is continuously updating training resources that can be used to educate Cochise Health and Social Services employees, medical professionals and the public. These educational materials play a critical role in preparing for public health emergencies.
- Creation of various training materials including disaster tabletop exercises
- Public Health Training Network (PHTN)