The Public Health Preparedness (PHP) program was created to prepare and respond to public health threats and emergencies from various sources, such as:
PHP is also responsible for the development of emergency response plans including:
The PHP also facilitates communications between local health providers, the State of Idaho, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These communications are maintained via a Health Alert Network (HAN) which is an infrastructure of secure Internet connections, fax machines and satellite connections. The HAN makes rapid dissemination of important public health information and alerts possible.
Public health professionals continually assess the general health of the community through various surveillance methods. By tracking certain diseases and syndromes (groups of symptoms) within the community, local surveillance provides the information needed for public health decision-making and establishing public health priorities. Epidemiological surveillance will also be managed by the PHP program by creating a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week communications infrastructure utilizing HAN to send and receive urgent disease and public threat information.
It is the policy of Public Health Preparedness to keep the public informed concerning health issues. Information is regularly distributed to the media, health professionals, and the public through news releases, public service announcements, e-mail, fax, and letters.
Public Health Preparedness has developed an "All Hazards" Risk Communications Plan that will keep the public informed during a public health emergency. The plan includes various ways to provide consistent information to the media and public through:
The PHP program is continuously updating training resources that can be used to educate Health Department employees, medical professionals and the public. Education programs are also supplied by the State and CDC via webcast and satellite broadcasts. These educational materials play a critical role in preparing for public health emergencies.