The Health Department works closely with community partners, government agencies, health care sectors and first responders to prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies that threaten the health and safety of Vermonters.
Learn how we help communities prepare for and respond to emergencies in the sections below.
Our Emergency Preparedness staff at Local Health Offices across the state work closely with local organizations and health care providers to assist them in preparing for and responding to disasters and public health emergencies.
Local Health Staff participates in local hospital preparedness, serves on local emergency preparedness committees, maintains agreements with community partners for mass clinic space in times of disaster or public health emergencies, provides presentations, works with local Medical Reserve Corps volunteers, and more.
Contact your Local Health Office Emergency Preparedness Specialist to learn how your community organization can get prepared.
VT-ALERT is used by the state and local responders to notify the public of emergency situations. These include, but are not limited to, evacuation information; chemical spills; shelter-in-place alerts; severe weather advisories; boil water advisories, roadway interruptions, and some public health emergencies. Residents or community organizations can tailor the alerts to specific locations, types of alerts and on which devices they will be notified.
From trained medical professionals who respond daily, to citizen volunteers who step up during natural disasters, Vermonters like you make all the difference in our communities health, safety, and preparedness.
Consider joining an EMS agency in your community or the Medical Reserve Corps. You can help even if you’re not a trained medical professional. Vermonters from all walks of life can join Medical Reserve Corps (MRCs) to lend a hand when a disaster or emergency strikes in your community. Go to our OnCall for Vermont website for more information.
During some public health emergencies, the Health Department may set up a site where medications or vaccines can be quickly distributed to the community. The site – called a “Point of Distribution” or POD site – helps the Health Department get medicine and vaccines to people who need it as quickly as possible. We have used PODs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch the video to learn more.
See Vaccine and Medicine Distribution Sites (Point of Distribution - PODS) video in many languages: العربية (Arabic) | မြန်မာစာ (Burmese) | English | Français (French) | Kirundi | नेपाली (Nepali) | Soomaali (Somali) | Español (Spanish) | Kiswahili (Swahili) | Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
The Health Department actively prepares to respond to infectious disease outbreaks, natural or man-made disasters, environmental hazards and contamination, extreme weather and other health crisis.
Ready or Not 2022: Protecting the Public's Health from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism by the Trust for America’s Health provides an annual assessment of states’ level of readiness to support the public's health in an emergency. The report assesses states against 10 top-performing emergency preparedness indicators ranging from accreditation status and workforce resilience and infection control to patient safety and countermeasure utilization. With over 16 states, slipping in their ranking from last year, Vermont remains in the highest tier.
The Health Department has responded to disasters and public health hazards such as:
- Hepatitis A and B
- Lung Injury Associated with E-cigarette Use (2019-2020)
- PFOA Blood Testing (2018)
- Lead Testing of Drinking Water in Schools and Child Care Facilities (2019-2021)
- Tritium Contamination at Vermont Yankee (2010-2012)
- Opioid Addiction Health Crisis
- CDC Public Health Preparedness and Response Website
- CDC Emergency Page
- Public Health Preparedness Performance Scorecard
- Vermont 2-1-1 - Check Vermont 2-1-1 for information on cooling shelters, cold weather information and many other community resources.
- Vermont Emergency Management - Community Preparedness
- Ready.gov - Organizations Preparing for Emergency Needs
- FEMA - Individuals and Communities
- Vermont Department of Health - Preparedness for Individuals & Families