Natural or man-made disasters can occur at any time. Local environmental health professionals play an extremely important role in all-hazards emergency preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation. Their understanding of how disasters impact the environment is essential to protecting public health before, during, and after an emergency or disaster. Carrying out the traditional functions of environmental health, such as safeguarding drinking water supplies, controlling disease-causing vectors, conducting inspections, and ensuring safe and healthy housing environments, may be challenging after extreme events.
The Environmental Health Emergency Preparedness Program provides guidance, information, and resources that assists local environmental health professionals in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from the adverse impacts of emergencies and disasters.
The Iowa Environmental Health Response Team (EHRT) is one of Iowa's four public health response teams that assist local partners across Iowa in responding to public health emergencies. The EHRT is a 20 member volunteer team comprised of local and state environmental health specialists.
The purpose of the EHRT is to provide environmental health services, assessments, technical assistance, and support to disrupted or overburdened local environmental health agencies. The Iowa EHRT provides basic services such as private/public water supplies, waste water treatment, vector control, food safety, air quality, solid waste, shelter/general sanitation, and any other common environmental health services that need to be reestablished.
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