Public Health Emergencies

What is a Public Health Emergency?

Anytime our community's public health or medical resources are overwhelmed the event may qualify as a public health emergency.

Disease Epidemic

  • May occur naturally (e.g., outbreak of meningitis in college dorm, pandemic flu)
  • Could be caused by bioterrorism (e.g., anthrax letters)

Mass Casualty Incident (large number of illnesses or injuries)

  • Could be the result of an accidental or natural disaster (e.g., earthquake, wildfire)
  • Caused by terrorism (e.g., September 11th plane crashes & London terrorist bombings, Tokyo Sarin nerve gas release)


  • Biological threats (e.g., Anthrax, Smallpox)