Emergencies and disasters happen frequently in Pennsylvania. While there is often a loss of property and economic impacts, the public health and medical consequences of disasters can be life threatening. Through the department’s Bureau of Emergency Preparedness and Response (BEPR), we work to respond and help protect public health. The bureau functions as our principle preparedness and response representative to all local, state and federal entities, as well as private organizations, such as hospitals and other healthcare entities. It coordinates preparedness and response planning, training and exercise development and manages the department’s response and recovery activities to the public health and medical consequences of natural or man-made disasters and emergencies.
Residents whose needs may not met by traditional service providers or may not comfortably or safely access those resources during a disaster or emergency are categorized as special populations. This can include residents with a functional disability like physical limitations, developmental disabilities or mental illnesses. Non-English speaking residents, or those who are geographically or culturally isolated, may also be at risk during an emergency. Additionally, homeless Pennsylvanians, people with pets and service animals and those who care for people with special needs may need assistance.