What is a Health Emergency?
A health emergency is a rare situation when something unusual creates the potential for widespread illness among a group of people.
Examples of possible health emergencies include the following:
- A large outbreak of bacterial meningitis
- A large foodborne outbreak
- An act of bioterrorism such as the intentional release of anthrax spores or another biological agent
- A large chemical spill or release that results in multiple injuries
- An influenza pandemic
What can you do to prepare for a health emergency on location?
- Keep yourself in good health. This includes getting a seasonal flu shot, eating a healthy diet, exercising and not smoking.
- Practice infection control measures now. Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer frequently. Cover your cough and sneeze into a tissue; dispose of the tissue and wash your hands. Avoid close contact with others when you are ill.
- Make a communication plan with your family. Create a list of important contacts and discuss alternative ways to communicate if necessary. This might include prearranged meeting places or communication through a third party, such as a relative. If you live in student housing, discuss with your family when and how you might leave the location in the event of an emergency.