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There are many potential emergencies and disasters that could affect the health of the public. These include natural disasters (like tornados and floods), epidemics (like Ebola), pandemics (like H1N1), and terrorism (including the release of chemicals). These emergencies require a coordinated response at the local, regional, and national level.

As part of the local response, BEDHD responds to emergencies and disasters to help keep our communities safe and healthy. BEDHD prepares for public health emergencies by making and exercising emergency plans, working with state and local agencies, and educating people in the community on what they can do to prepare for an emergency.

Types of Public Health Emergencies



How BEDHD Prepares for Emergencies

Emergency preparedness is a component of all public health’s 10 Essential Functions. BEDHD prepares for public health emergencies in many ways:

Individuals and Families: What You Can Do to Prepare for Emergencies

Emergencies and disasters can strike quickly and without warning. They can force you to evacuate your neighborhood or make it so that you can’t leave your home.

What would you do if basic services—water, gas, electricity, or telephones—were cut off?

Although first responders would be on the scene after a disaster, the recommendation is the public need to be self-sustainable for 72 hours. Therefore, the best way to make sure you, your family, and your home stay safe is to be prepared before disaster strikes. During an emergency, it helps if everyone can do their part:

  • Be informed about the hazards that exist in our area and how they can affect you personally. 
  • Know what to do when a disaster or emergency does occur. 
  • Have a household/family evacuation and communications plan in place so that everyone in your family knows what to do and where to go in an emergency. 
  • Put together an emergency kit with supplies to help sustain you until services are restored or help can be provided. 

To learn more about doing your part—including information about disasters and emergencies, evacuation and communications plans, and emergency kits—use the following resources:

  • Do1Thing
    •  Do1Thing makes it easy for people to get started preparing for disasters and emergencies. It lists one activity that you can do each month to help prepare yourself.
    • has detailed information about many types of emergency and disaster, along with information on how to make emergency plans and kits. It has special information to help seniors, disabled persons, children, and families with pets prepare.
  • Michigan Prepares
    • Michigan Prepares has information on the most common disasters and emergencies in Michigan and on how to make emergency plans and kits. They also offer a free, easy-to-use mobile app that acts as a tool to help you and your family create a basic emergency plan in a few quick steps.
  • American Red Cross Preparedness for Seniors and People with Access and Functional Needs
    • This webpage has disaster preparedness resources designed to address the unique needs of seniors and people with access and functional needs in emergency planning.

What you do now can help you and your family better respond to and recover from disaster, as well as contribute to the overall readiness of our region.

How to Get Involved

In any emergency, a large amount of people are needed to respond and help a community recover. Volunteers are vital to community recovery.

The Michigan (MI) Volunteer Registry is a place for people of all skills and experiences to register to volunteer in case of an emergency. The MI Volunteer Registry provides a place for volunteers to give their interests, skills, and contact information in case there is an emergency in Michigan that requires help from the public. Register to volunteer today!

Businesses: What You Can Do to Prepare for Emergencies

Emergencies and disasters can strike quickly and without warning. Preparing your business for an emergency can help mitigate the loss of services and/or revenue, prevent the loss of operations due to staff shortages, and shorten recovery time. To learn more about business preparedness, use the following resources:

  • Do1Thing for Businesses
    • Do1Thing makes it easy for businesses to get started preparing for disasters and emergencies. It lists one activity that you can do each month to help prepare your business.
  • for Businesses
    • has information on five steps to developing a preparedness program for your business.
  • FEMA’s Emergency Preparedness for Businesses
    • This webpage has resources for emergency preparedness in businesses, including information on how to create a business continuity plan.

What you do now can help your business better prepare for and recover from disaster, as well as contribute to the overall readiness of our region.

How to Get Involved

Partner with BEDHD and become a Closed Point of Dispensing (POD) today! A Closed POD partnership benefits your business, your staff, and your community, and there is no extra cost involved for you.

During a public health emergency requiring county-wide mass preventative medication or vaccination, BEDHD, in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), will have Open PODs for the public to come to in order to receive  the necessary drug(s), based on the nature of the emergency. A Closed POD, in contrast, will be asked to provide their staff, staff’s families, and, if the business is a living facility, residents the necessary preventative medication or vaccine. This allows the Closed POD partner to be a priority in receiving medication from BEDHD and reduces the strain on local Open PODs.

For more information on becoming a Closed POD, please contact BEDHD’s Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, Eileen Thompson at 517-541-2693 or BEDHD will work alongside your business to develop a plan, discuss liability concerns, and ensure that both parties understand their own and each other’s roles and responsibilities.

More Information

For more information about BEDHD's emergency preparedness efforts, contact Eileen Thompson, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, at

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