Emergency Preparedness

Goodhue County Health & Human Services (GCHHS) Public Health Emergency Preparedness involves coordinating, planning, and communicating with partner agencies, organizations, and the community in order to understand potential health threats and have effective responses to public health emergencies. Some of our emergency preparedness responses fall along traditional public health lines, such as responding to a pandemic or high consequence infectious disease outbreak. Other less traditional responses, at first glance, do not seem to be public health oriented, like assisting in evacuation coordination or providing support operations for mass casualty/fatality events. However, these aspects keep our county aligned with both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Public Health Preparedness Capabilities and the Federal Emergency Management Agency Emergency Support Functions (FEMA ESF).

Notifications to the Public
In the event of an emergency involving public health or a GCHHS response, we will notify the public via news releases to local radio stations, newspapers, and postings on our homepage and Facebook page.

Major GCHHS Public Health Emergency Response actions include:

  • Mass Dispensing-GCHHS is prepared to respond to a declared communicable disease pandemic or biological terrorism event by establishing mass dispensing clinics. We will work closely with CDC and MDH (Minnesota Department of Health) to provide information to the public explaining what to do, where to go, and how to protect the health of your loved ones.
  • Shelters-GCHHS is prepared to set-up and operate a housing shelter in response to a man-made or natural disaster which causes a large number of people to leave their homes. The shelter provides a safe place for families while they wait for their community to be cleared for return or they find a better long-term housing solution.
  • Mass Casualty/Mass Fatality-GCHHS is prepared to establish a Family Assistance Center in the event of a mass casualty/mass fatality event in order to assist hospitals and the Medical Examiner's Office. We will collect the names of potential victims and provide worried family and friends a safe place to go while they await information on their loved one.
  • Evacuations-In the event of a radiological release at Xcel Energy Prairie Island Nuclear Power Plant, GCHHS is prepared to assist in coordinating evacuation assets for long term care facilities and at-risk populations within the 10-mile emergency planning zone. GCHHS is available to work with facilities as they write and refine their evacuation plans.