Emergency Preparedness and Response

CHEMPACK/Pharmacy |  Communications  |  Disaster Mental Health (DMH) Program  |  Environmental Health  |  Epidemiology  |  Laboratory  |  Legal  |  Nursing  |  Planning and Exercise |  SNS (Strategic National Stockpile)  |  Technology and Telecommunications  |  Volunteer Management


The mission of the Section of Emergency Preparedness and Response is to assure the health and well-being of the individuals and communities in the State of Georgia by preparing for, responding to and recovering from events of public health significance.

Purpose of Program

The Section of Emergency Preparedness and Response for the Georgia Department of Public Health is tasked under the Georgia Emergency Operations plan to lead efforts related to Emergency Support Function 8 (Health and Medical) and support Emergency Support Function 6 (Mass Care). To that end the Section provides technical assistance and guidance as well as communication and logistics to support to the local public health districts during times of disaster or emergency. The Section receives Grant Funding from the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as from the State of Georgia, to support Public Health and Healthcare Community Preparedness and Response.

Support is provided to the key disciplines that comprise the team dedicated to comprehensive planning and response to all hazards that pose a risk to the health and well-being of all Georgians and additional support outside of the state when called upon for assistance.

The Healthcare Preparedness Program is directly funded by the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) through the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP). HPP’s mission is to prepare the health care system to save lives through the support of regional health care coalitions. HCCs are groups of health care and response organizations that collaborate to prepare for and respond to medical surge events. HCCs incentivize diverse and often competitive health care organizations to work together. 

Functions of Program 


  • Participate in Emergency Preparedness and Response by evaluating the probability and impact of pharmaceutical risk and pharmacists practice roles. Assist with identifying solutions and communicating mitigation strategies by collaborating with the Board of Pharmacy, pharmacy community, local, state, and federal agencies, and other stakeholders. The CHEMPACK program is designed to provide, monitor, and maintain a nationwide program for the forward placement of nerve agent antidote. To provide state and local governments a sustainable resource: and to improve their capability to respond quickly to a nerve agent incident


  • Provide strong, reliable, timely, and consistent communications and messaging for Commissioner O’Neal, the Department, Districts and all programs.

Disaster Mental Health(DMH) Program 

  • Georgia's Disaster Mental Health Program is housed in the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities and is funded by the GDPH Office Emergency Preparedness and Response as part of Georgia’s Healthcare Preparedness Program grant. The mission of Georgia’s DMH program is to ensure continuity of care to individuals receiving DBHDD services during and after disasters and behavioral health support to disaster survivors and responders. This is done through policy development and a coordinated statewide plan that covers all phases of disaster. 

Environmental Health 

  • Rapidly respond to public environmental health emergencies and disasters through a combination of surveillance, education, enforcement, assessment and surge support programs. These are designed to identify, prevent and abate the environmental conditions that adversely impact human health while supporting the socio-economic recovery of the affected community.
    Environmental Health Emergency Preparedness


  • The Epidemiology Section carries out a number of activities to identify diseases and describe health conditions, assess the health of Georgians, and develop recommendations to control diseases and improve the overall health status in the state. 
    Epidemiology Emergency Preparedness 


  • The mission of the Georgia Department of Public Health Laboratory Program is to improve the health status of Georgians by providing accurate, timely and confidential clinical and non-clinical laboratory testing in support of Department of Public Health programs, activities and initiatives as well as performing tests for Emergency Preparedness. 


  • Law plays an important role in the preparedness and response to disasters and emergencies.  The mission of the DPH, Office of General Counsel is to provide guidance and counsel to State and District staff to support Public Health's duty to protect and promote the health of communities in this state. The Office of General Counsel works with public health staff to help them understand the laws, policies, and regulations that affect public health.


  • Provides leadership, guidance, technical assistance and tools to assure that the practice of Public Health Nursing in Georgia is evidence- and competency-based, consistent with the Georgia nurse practice acts, rules and regulations and scope of practice, and focused on improving the health and safety of Georgians.

Planning and Exercise 

  • The Georgia Department of Public Health, Division of Health Protection’s, Emergency Preparedness and Response – Planning and Exercise Unit is here to promote, implement and support district/state programs in the Preparedness Cycle (Plan, Organize/Equip, Train, Exercise, Evaluate/Improve) through coordination of statewide activities to a public health response with updated and concise plans that address the essential functions of public health emergency preparedness. 

Strategic National Stockpile 

  • The Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) Program’s mission is to have robust, operational plans based upon partnerships with federal, state, local, and community partners to increase our ability to respond to any public health emergency requiring the deployment of medical countermeasures and Strategic National Stockpile assets.

Technology and Telecommunications

  • The staff and partners will have secure access to technical and electronic information resources through proven technology and telecommunications. Our goal is to provide current software and communication solutions, training, and value-added products and/or services to guide and direct emergency preparedness members to the latest technology solutions.  Staff will be supported by up-to-date technology that ensures provision of quality services that are efficient and cost-effective. We value acquiring and using technology to support the missions of the DPH Emergency Preparedness and Response department.

Volunteer Management 

  • In active partnership with Public Health Districts and Healthcare Coalitions, the Volunteer Program mission is to support the efforts to establish, implement and engage volunteers to strengthen public health, community resiliency, and emergency response.

In addition to providing these areas of direct support to the residents of Georgia and others, the DPH Emergency Preparedness Section promotes public and private partnerships and encourages organizational and individual preparedness actions. Further recommendations in this vein can be found on the website and app developed by DPH in conjunction with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency: Ready Georgia





Page last updated 11/02/18