To prepare for, respond to and recover from health emergencies affecting the State of Tennessee.
The Emergency Preparedness Program is responsible for developing plans for the Tennessee Department of Health to protect the health of residents and visitors from the effects of man-made and naturally occurring events.
The EP program coordinates with federal, state and regional partner agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and local health departments to identify resource and planning needs.
Tennessee supports an all-hazard approach to preparedness and response. This approach encourages individuals to prepare for the disaster most likely to occur. By preparing for one hazard, individuals, families and communities will have effectively begun preparing for any type of emergency.
The Tennessee EP program partners with Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky and Mississippi to prepare for and respond to all disaster events. Together, this partnership is the Federal Emergency Management Agency Region IV Planning Coalition. Tennessee will give support to and receive assistance from other partner states, as needed, in a health emergency.
Strategic National Stockpile
The Emergency Preparedness program distributes medicine and medical supplies in the event of a disaster. These items often come from the Strategic National Stockpile, a supply of emergency items. The SNS supplies antibiotics, vaccines, antitoxins, chemical antidotes and medical/surgical items. SNS materials are designed to supplement and re-supply state and local public health resources, as well as other health care agencies in the event of a national emergency. The EP program continues to receive high ratings from the CDC for its level of preparedness to receive the SNS during an act of bioterrorism or a mass casualty event.
The EP program continually increases hospital preparedness and response capabilities. It works to increase the surge capacity of healthcare facilities. Surge capacity is the ability to expand care capabilities in response to a great increase in demand. EP sustains all-hazards electronic and communication response tools needed by hospitals for regional and statewide disasters.
Tennessee Disaster Support Network (TDSN)
The Tennessee Disaster Support Network is a web-based resource to assist Tennessee communities in meeting their needs before, during, and after a disaster.
Public Information and Communication
The EP program provides emergency health information, and continues to improve its ability to get emergency information quickly and effectively to all Tennesseans.
Medical Reserve Corps
The Medical Reserve Corps serves as the department’s volunteer organization. EP’s regional MRC units recruit and train medical and general volunteers to support the Tennessee Department of Health, hospitals and medical care providers in a public health emergency. Learn more about becoming a volunteer at health.tn.gov/volunteer/index.shtml.
Epidemiologists, experts on diseases that can impact large populations, continuously monitor information that might signal possible disease outbreaks or an exposure to bioterrorist agents. Public health investigation teams conduct outbreak investigations, collect specimens and data and respond to public health emergencies.
Through TDOH Laboratory Services, the EP program provides high quality medical and environmental testing for biologic and chemical agents.
EP staff work in cooperation with the Office of Homeland Security and TEMA to plan and execute a comprehensive program to test emergency response strategies. These drills, called exercises, strengthen Tennessee’s overall defenses.
Exercises involve public safety, public health and hospital organizations in every Homeland Security District, health department and TEMA region in the state.
Information Technology Systems
EP maintains and utilizes the Tennessee Emergency Medical Awareness, Response and Resources systems. These systems ensure secure electronic data exchange among public health partners’ computer systems. These systems include the Tennessee Health Alert Network, the Healthcare Resource Tracking System, the Tennessee Volunteer Mobilizer, and the Tennessee Countermeasure Response Network. Eight Regional Medical Communication Centers serve as a statewide medical communication system.
Communicable and Environmental Disease Services
Department of Health
State of Tennessee
425 5th Avenue North
1st Floor, Cordell Hull Building
Nashville, TN 37243