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Office of Health Preparedness

Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Disaster Preparedness & Response

The Office of Health Preparedness staff fields questions on a regular basis. We have tried to compile a few frequently asked questions and answers here. As always, if you have particular questions, feel free to contact us.

Who do I contact in a public health emergency?
You should contact your local health department. To find yours, click here.

What is a public health emergency?
A Public Health Emergency will be defined as any event or situation demanding immediate action on the part of the public health system in order to prevent disease and injury and/or maintain public health within the community of service.

What type of help does the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) offer during disasters?
As a core member of Ohio’s Emergency Management Team, we are in the State Emergency Operations Center at the Ohio Emergency Management Agency on serious incidents, whether natural or manmade. We offer health expertise to your coordination effort. If the local health department’s emergency response plan is functional, ODH is able to assist you much quicker in finding the needed resources.

What is an ERC?
ERC stands for Emergency Response Coordinator. This is the person in each local health department who is charged with making the disaster plan work. This person is the local link to the state of Ohio during emergencies on health related matters.

Why does a health department need a 24-hour, 7 day a week number?
Health emergencies occur at any hour on any day. The State of Ohio will coordinate alerts on a health emergency but the local health department is the first responder in a health emergency. In addition, OAC 3701-3-05 demands a mechanism for immediate reporting of Class A-1 diseases.

What numbers should be recorded as our emergency contact?
ODH numbers that you should record are the infectious disease hot line (614) 995-5599 and the Office of Health Preparedness main line (614) 644-6133.


Reviewed 9/29/2016