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Emergency Preparedness

Public Health Emergency Preparedness

The Public Health Emergency Preparedness Department of Southwest Health and Human Services (SWHHS) works to increase Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Pipestone, Redwood and Rock counties ability to respond to public health emergencies. We work to prevent, protect against, quickly respond to and recover from health emergencies. Public health emergencies include:

  • Infectious disease outbreaks/pandemics
  • Effects of severe weather, natural disasters and power outages
  • Incidents resulting in mass casualties
  • Toxic chemical or radiological releases
  • Acts of bioterrorism
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Prepare, Plan, and Stay Informed

A basic emergency go-kit could include the following recommended items:

  • Water-one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food-at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery

Visit for more information on Emergency Go-Kit’s and how to maintain your kit.

ECHO’s mission is to collaborate with diverse communities to deliver programs and services that help people be healthy, contribute, and succeed.

In an emergency, ECHO will work with public officials to provide you and your family with the information that you need to stay healthy and safe in multiple languages. ECHO Phone and ECHO Web will be utilized. Both systems will be updated as needed, so be sure to call/check back frequently.

Minnesota Responds (MN Responds) is a volunteer based organization. MN Responds strives to recruit, organize, train, empower and sustain a volunteer base of medical and non-medical volunteers. SWHHS provides adequate training on how to assist with emergency situations and promote emergency awareness and safety.

Volunteers also participate in planned emergency response exercises and community events. If you would like to become a volunteer for the SWHHS Minnesota Responds Volunteer Group or you would like more information about Emergency Preparedness, please call the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator at 507-537-6713.

Southwest Health and Human Services is a member of the Health Alert Network (HAN), providing a method of fast, efficient, and reliable communication between the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), and local public health agencies.

Health Care Providers are critical components in local emergency planning, preparedness, and response.

The following resources are provided to assist local hospitals and health care systems (i.e. clinics, long-term care facilities) to prepare for and respond to public health emergencies:

It is easier for an individual, family, childcare provider, and schools to cope with an emergency or a disaster if they have planned and prepared before an incident occurs. Having a plan can help protect the health and safety of you, your family, or your staff. Emergencies or disasters can happen at any time, anywhere, and to anyone.

Always prepare, plan and stay informed. A few examples of how to achieve this include creating an emergency communication plan, creating an emergency kit, and stay up to date on emergency alerts.

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