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Plan Development



The Cambridge Public Health Department is engaged in the following planning activities.

In 2005, the Cambridge Advanced Practice Center produced an “Emergency Dispensing Site Action Plan” for use by municipal health officials and other public health workers in the 27 Massachusetts communities that comprise Emergency Preparedness Region 4b. The emergency dispensing plan has been incorporated into the comprehensive emergency management plans of all Region 4b communities, and serves as the regional standard for opening, operating, and closing emergency dispensing sites.

Emergency Dispensing Sites

During a major public health emergency, it is essential that people who are at risk for illness have access to life-saving medicines and vaccines. Emergency dispensing sites are temporary clinics set up in schools, churches, and other community locations to provide medication and vaccines to a large number of people in a short amount of time. 

In 2005, the Cambridge Advanced Practice Center produced an “Emergency Dispensing Site Action Plan” for use by municipal health officials and other public health workers in the 27 Massachusetts communities that comprise Emergency Preparedness Region 4b. The emergency dispensing plan has been incorporated into the comprehensive emergency management plans of all Region 4b communities, and serves as the regional standard for opening, operating, and closing emergency dispensing sites.

Public Health Mutual Aid Agreement

A major public health threat—such as a chemical spill or disease outbreak—could quickly overwhelm the resources of a single community. Recognizing this fact, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has encouraged cities and towns to enter into public health mutual aid agreements with neighboring municipalities.

A public health mutual aid agreement is a legal document that addresses issues of liability, authority, and finances which often arise when one community's public health department requests help from another.

In December 2005, the Cambridge Advanced Practice Center released a model public health mutual aid agreement for Massachusetts communities.  The agreement was drafted by attorneys from the City Solicitors and Town Counsel Association and the Massachusetts Association of Health Boards, and emergency preparedness professionals from the Cambridge Advanced Practice Center and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (Center for Emergency Preparedness).

In 2006, the model public health mutual aid agreement was submitted to the 27 Region 4b communities for approval.  As of July 2009, all 27 municipalities had approved the agreement.

Special Populations Planning

The Cambridge Public Health Department and other Region 4b health departments develop plans and pre-event education for people who are non-English speakers, physically or mentally disabled, homebound, or elderly. 

Essential Personnel Cross-Training 

Some emergencies require a prolonged response.  As part of that response, public health and other personnel may be asked to assume different roles to ensure delivery of essential services. Through trainings and exercises, Region 4b staff assist local officials in identifying service areas that require cross training of personnel.

Family Preparedness Planning

Effective emergency response requires everyone’s participation, including families, businesses, and schools.  National polls suggest that only 10% of Americans have engaged in emergency planning at home.  Cambridge Public Health Department programs and initiatives that support family and household planning include presentations at health fairs and community forums, and public service announcements.

 

Revised on September 30, 2009


INFO LINE

If you have questions about public health emergency preparedness in Cambridge, please call 617-665-3848.

If this is an emergency, please call 911.