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Public Health Emergency Preparedness

PHEP ProgramProgram Overview

The Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) provides leadership to effectively prepare for, respond to, and recover from a public health emergency,  caused by either a natural or man-made disaster.  PHEP is located in the Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) Division of Emergency Medical Services. We work closely with the Department of Emergency Services, other county departments, healthcare partners, and community agencies. 

Program Responsibilities

Our primary responsibilities include developing and integrating all-hazards public health response plans, conducting drills and exercises to test these plans ans recruiting, training and deploying the Erie County Medical Reserve Corps (ECMRC), and educate the public and training county response partners in the areas below. 

Emergency shelter

Integrated Shelter Support

In the event that general population shelters are established in Erie County, the Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness works with the American Red Cross Western New York Chapter to coordinate public health services, basic medical care, and functional needs support services.

Examples of services provided include:

  • Observation, assessment and maintenance of individuals with minor health/medical conditions
  • Assistance with personal care or activities of daily living
  • Assistance obtaining, managing and administering medications (prescription and over-the-counter)
  • Assistance obtaining and utilizing durable medical equipment and medical supplies

sick person

Isolation and Quarantine

In a public health emergency caused by an infectious disease, the Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness will coordinate activities that will stop or limit the spread of disease.  Two ways of doing this include:

  • Isolation: is used to separate ill persons who have a communicable disease from those who are healthy.
  • Quarantine: is used to separate and restrict the movement of well persons who may have been exposed to a communicable disease to see if they become ill.


Mass Fatality

In a public health emergency that exceeds the community’s ability to manage human fatalities, the Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness will coordinate with the Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office and other community partners to effectively respond.

point of dispensing

Mass Vaccination and Mass Prophylaxis

Certain public health emergencies may require administration of large numbers of vaccine or medication in a short period of time. 

Points of Dispensing (POD)

The Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness will coordinate the Erie County Department of Health’s response which may include Points of Dispensing (POD).  POD sites are typically large facilities (universities, colleges, high schools) located throughout the county. Depending on the nature of the medical emergency, PODs may have to operate 24 hours a day for several days.  Erie County Department of Health has agreements with many locations throughout the Erie County to operate PODs in the event of an emergency.

medical surge

Medical Surge

Medical Surge is the capability to rapidly expand the capacity of the existing healthcare system (long-term care facilities, community health agencies, acute care facilities, alternate care facilities and public health departments) in order to provide assessment and medical care.

Strategic National Stockpile

Strategic National Stockpile Plan

The federal Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) has large quantities of medicine and medical supplies to protect the American public if there is a public health emergency severe enough to cause local supplies to run out. Once federal and local authorities agree that the SNS is needed, medicines will be delivered to any state in the U.S. within 12 hours. Each state has plans to receive and distribute SNS medicine and medical supplies to local communities as quickly as possible.

Erie County is prepared to receive, process, and distribute medication, supplies and equipment to Points of Distribution (POD) sites and hospitals throughout Erie County.

Erie County Medical Reserve Corps (ECMRC)Erie County Medical Reserve Corps (ECMRC) logo

The Erie County Medical Reserve Corps (ECMRC) is Erie County, New York's volunteer public health emergency response organization.

See the ECMRC website for information about this program.

Join ECMRC now!

Trainings Offered to the Public

Emergencies can happen at any time and can affect anyone. It is never too late to learn proper skills and procedures to perform in the event of an emergency. Trainings offered include:

Stop the Bleed

Uncontrolled bleeding is the number one cause of preventable death after injury. Learning the initial steps to stop uncontrolled bleeding can increase a person's likelihood of survival until professional help arrives.

Hands-Only CPR

Performing Hands-Only CPR when the heart stops beating or doesn’t beat effectively enough to circulate blood to the brain and other vital organs increases the likelihood of surviving cardiac arrest.

Emergency Preparedness Resources

Video Library: Learn how to prepare for and protect yourself, family, pets and others from many different types of emergencies

Watch Videos

ReadyErie Preparedness App: This free app is available for Erie County residents to make and share emergency plans, and to receive information from Erie County during emergencies.  ReadyErie App

Download the ReadyErie Preparedness App

Pet ID Card: Printable cards to record important pet identification and medical information. (Print double-sided)

Print ID Cards


500 Commerce Drive
Amherst, NY 14228
Phone: (716) 858-8440
Fax: (716) 858-7121