When facing an infectious disease outbreak, natural or man-made disaster, environmental hazard, extreme weather or other health crisis, the Vermont Department of Health must be prepared to respond quickly and effectively. The Health Department works closely with community partners to prepare for emergencies.
We also work with other government agencies, hospitals, health care providers, EMS, first responders and community partners to respond to – and recover from – events and emergencies that threaten the health and safety of Vermonters. Health Department Staff has been responding to the COVID-19 pandemic since January 2020. Learn more about our response efforts.
Learn more about how we help our communities prepare for and respond to emergencies in the sections below.
September is National Preparedness Month!
National Preparedness Month is an observance each September to raise awareness about the importance of preparing for disasters and emergencies that could happen at any time.
Are you or is your organization planning on hosting a National Preparedness Month event, activity, webinar, or training in your community? We will help get the word out about your event. Let us know by filling out this online form.
10:00 - 3:00pm
|Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital Emergency Preparedness Information Table||Provide emergency preparedness information focusing on "Go Kits"||Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital, St. Johnsbury||Becky Petelle, 802-777-7851, [email protected]|
10:00 - 3:00pm
|Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital Emergency Preparedness Information Table||Provide emergency preparedness information with a focus on "Communication Plans"||Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital, St. Johnsbury||Becky Petelle, 802-777-7851, [email protected]|
1:00 - 2:00pm
|Family Preparedness training||We will be doing an online training, then discussing ways to share the information with our community.||232 Main St., Brattleboro||[email protected]|
12:00 - 3:00pm
|Hyde Park Old Home Day||Personal Preparedness, Tick Prevention Hot Weather Prep and Aging Well||Hyde Park||Vermont Department of Health
10:00 - 3:00pm
|Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital Emergency Preparedness Information Table||Provide emergency preparedness information with a focus on "Ticks"||Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital, St. Johnsbury||Becky Petelle, 802-777-7851, [email protected]|
|NEK MRC monthly meeting with Training on "Emergency Preparedness: Beyond the Go Kit"||Presentation on emergency preparedness||St. Johnsbury Health Department, 107 Eastern Ave, Ste. 9||Becky Petelle, 802-777-7851, [email protected]|
10:00 am - 3:00pm
|Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital Emergency Preparedness Information Table||Provide emergency preparedness information with a focus on "Weather Related Preparedness"||Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital, St. Johnsbury||Becky Petelle, 802-777-7851, [email protected]|
|Autumn on the Green - Emergency Preparedness Table||Information booth on Emergency Preparedness and a first aid station||Danville Green, Danville, VT||Becky Petelle, 802-777-7851, [email protected]|
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.
The recently published report 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
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. To learn more about how your community organization can be engaged in local preparedness efforts, contact your Local Health Office Emergency Preparedness Specialist at the links below.
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)
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.
- 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