Public Health Emergency Preparedness

Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness
95 Franklin Street, Room 931
Buffalo, New York 14202
Phone: 716-858-7101
Fax: 716-858-7121

The Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) provides leadership to effectively prepare for, respond to, and recover from a public health emergency,  caused by either a natural or manmade disaster.  The Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness is located in the Division of Emergency Medical Services. We work closely with Emergency Services, other County Departments, Health Care Partners and community agencies.

Our primary responsibilities include:

Integrated Shelter Support:  In the event general population shelters are established in Erie County, the Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness works with the American Red Cross Western New York Chapter to coordinate public health services, basic medical care, and functional needs support services. 

Examples of services provided include:

Isolation and Quarantine:  In a public health emergency caused by an infectious disease the Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness will coordinate activities that will stop or limit the spread of disease.

Mass Fatality: In a public health emergency that exceeds the community’s ability to manage human fatalities, the Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness will coordinate with the Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office and other community partners to effectively respond.

Mass Vaccination and Mass Prophylaxis:  Certain public health emergencies may require administration of large numbers of vaccine or medication in a short period of time. 

Points of Dispensing (POD):  The Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness will coordinate the Erie County Department of Health’s response which may include Points of Dispensing (POD).  POD sites are typically large facilities (universities, colleges, high schools) located throughout the County. Depending on the nature of the medical emergency PODs may have to operate 24 hours a day for several days.  Erie County Department of Health has agreements with numerous locations throughout the County to operate PODs in the event of an emergency.

Medical Surge: Medical Surge is the capability to rapidly expand the capacity of the existing healthcare system (long-term care facilities, community health agencies, acute care facilities, alternate care facilities and public health departments) in order to provide assessment and subsequent medical care.

Strategic National Stockpile Plan: The federal Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) has large quantities of medicine and medical supplies to protect the American public if there is a public health emergency severe enough to cause local supplies to run out. Once federal and local authorities agree that the SNS is needed, medicines will be delivered to any state in the U.S. within 12 hours. Each state has plans to receive and distribute SNS medicine and medical supplies to local communities as quickly as possible.

Erie County is prepared to receive process and distribute medication, supplies and equipment to Points of Distribution (POD) sites and hospitals throughout the County. 

This website contains critical emergency-related information including instructions and recommended protective actions developed in real-time by emergency service personnel. Concurrent with the posting to this website, that same information will be disseminated through various communications systems (e.g. email, cell phones, and media outlets) to those who sign up.

The information posted here will include severe weather warnings, significant highway closures, hazardous materials spills, and many other emergency conditions. Additionally you will find information regarding response actions being taken by local and state agencies and protective actions that you should take to protect you, your family and your property.