In addition to bioterrorism and disease outbreaks, certain natural disasters like earthquakes, wildfires and floods can cause other public health emergencies such as disruptions in power, water and other essential services, poor air quality or contaminated water or food supplies that could possibly affect the health of residents. Other emergencies could include severe winter or summer weather.
There may also be emergencies when the possibility of survival depends on staying where you are. This process is called “shelter in place.” Generally, this happens with storms and natural disasters, or it might also happen in the event of a terrorist attack of the biological, chemical or radiation type. In other situations, officials will tell you to move to another place or to evacuate your community. Depending on the situation, Public Health officials will work closely with other local emergency officials and inform the public of any potential health risks that might result from a natural or environmental disaster.
Click on the following fact sheets below for more information on severe weather or what to do if you are instructed to shelter-in-place or evacuate.