The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District’s emergency response capability resides in the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program (PHEP). PHEP works with partner emergency response agencies throughout the county to provide public health support in the event of an emergency.
One of the major stakeholder/partners of the PHEP Program is the Waco-McLennan County Emergency Management agency. Waco-McLennan Emergency Management promulgates the County’s Emergency Operations Plan. Annex H of that Plan is Health and Medical Activities.
PHEP is one of the agencies responsible for providing Annex H emergency services during an emergency. Other agencies involved in Annex H services include the hospitals, EMS, mental health agencies, and mortuary services.
The local PHEP program has several dedicated team members that work on health preparedness. The team consists of a PHEP Coordinator, a Preparedness Trainer, a Preparedness Planner, an Epidemiologist, a Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) Coordinator, and a trained Initial Response Team Cadre made up of select Public Health staff.
The Team’s Epidemiologist provides daily and ongoing monitoring of emerging diseases within the community. If a disease outbreak indicates that a significant public health emergency is eminent, an appropriate response is initiated by the PHEP Team.
The teams responsibilities include preparing for and responding to significant natural occurring or intentional incidents which endanger the public’s health and well being. These responses can include natural disasters, significant disease outbreaks, and terror related health incidents.
A major component of PHEP Response is providing medications to the population of McLennan County during a health emergency. These medications are dispensed through mass prophylaxis clinics, which are called Points of Dispensing (POD) Sites. Wide spread health emergencies will require several POD sites to administer medications to the population. Volunteers will be needed to help staff many of these POD Sites. The Central Texas Medical Reserve Corps provides the majority of volunteers for the Health District’s emergency response.
Anyone interested in becoming a Health District volunteer can access the Central Texas Medical Reserve Corps link provided on this page.