Public health emergencies can be any disaster or crisis that can harm the health of people living in communities throughout Philadelphia. PDPH works every day to make sure Philadelphia is prepared for any kind of public health emergency. Our plans involve partners at the local, state, and federal levels.

Planning for Emergencies

A public health emergency can happen at any time. That is why it is important to be prepared. Below, we have included planning templates for healthcare, businesses, schools, and tips for personal preparedness.

Planning Templates

Health Hazards

The following health hazards have the potential for major public health impact and may require special action for public health preparedness.

Biological Agents

Outbreaks and Emerging Infectious Diseases

Extreme Heat

Severe Storms


Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)

During a public health emergency, such as Hurricane Katrina or 9/11, people often ask, “How can I help?” Apply your skills where they are needed most, and volunteer with the Philadelphia Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)! The Philadelphia MRC is a committed group of volunteers who help keep Philadelphia safe by responding to public health emergencies. Volunteers are trained in advance, so you will be better prepared to help yourself and others during an emergency. The MRC offers training opportunities where medical professionals can earn free continuing education credits.

Click here to learn more about the Philadelphia MRC.

To apply to volunteer with the Philadelphia MRC:

  1. Click here to go to the ServPA website.
  2. Then click the "Register Now" button.
  3. For the organization selection, choose "Add Organization" "Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Organizations" "Philadelphia MRC".
  4. Complete the rest of the form and submit.

Community Response Partner Network

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) maintains a network of community partners who can disseminate information to their members and neighbors during public health emergencies that affect the City of Philadelphia. These individuals will receive notifications about public health emergencies and will be asked to share this information with staff and the communities they serve. 

Click here to sign up for the Community Response Partner Network.


Response Partners

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health coordinates with federal, state, local, and regional agencies to plan for and respond to public health emergencies. Response partners include hospitals, universities, law enforcement, long term care facilities, local businesses, community based organizations, etc.

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health maintains the secure, password protected webpages below on the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s Health Information Portal (HIP) to facilitate coordination with response partners. Authorization to access these sites must be approved by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s Bioterrorism and Public Health Preparedness Program.

Exercise Partners

PDPH regularly exercises, or tests, our plans to make sure they will work in an emergency. These exercises range from small-scale radio tests to large-scale activities involving many partners taking place over the course of a week and testing many different plans at once. After the exercise, we review how well the plan worked, produce an After Action Report to document our findings and areas for improvement, and update our plans.

Healthcare and other partners that have been involved in PDPH exercises can obtain a copy of the After Action Report through a secure, password protected site here.

Closed POD Partners

Closed PODs are private locations such as businesses, universities, or nursing homes where mass countermeasures can be dispensed to a specific group of people. For information on becoming a Closed POD, please contact

Current Closed POD Partners can maintain their contact information and access planning templates here.

PCW-MSA Regional Partners

The Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area (PCW-MSA) regional public health partners can share resources and contact information here.

Big City Public Health Preparedness Directors

US Big Cities Public Health Preparedness Directors can access meeting documents and contact information here.