The Critical Impact of Environmental Health in Emergency Response

In an effort to provide proactive training to educate local environmental health officials before a natural disaster hits, the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) has developed the Environmental Health Training in Emergency Response (EHTER). Sponsored by DHS/FEMA and the CDC, it comes at no cost to Environmental Health Officials and gives them the skills and knowledge to better prepare them for when disasters happen.

Provided as a four-day course, the training covers topics and issues dealing with environmental health and the challenges that emergency responders could possibly face. By giving these responders the knowledge and skills to deal with such eventualities, officials hope that emergency health professionals and responders will better address emergencies and disasters, lessening the impact such events have on businesses and individuals alike.

And while several tests have shown the need for preparedness for emergencies and education and training to decrease response times, there are no current comprehensive, standardized training programs on a national level, according to

To address this need, the CDC’s Environmental Health Services Branch (EHSB) in collaboration with the Florida Department of Health, the Louisville Metro Health Department, and other various federal, state, and local agencies have partnered to develop a comprehensive pilot training program. Divided into 10 modules, the program focuses on such key environmental health issues and challenges as food safety and water quality, wastewater disposal, shelter assessment and sanitation, among others.

Striving to make EHTER available to crucial environmental health components at the state and local levels, the CDC hopes to ensure that emergency responders at this level are provided with the tools and training needed.

To further ensure that training reaches those it deems of utmost importance in disaster response, the CDC also offers EHTER through the following channels:

For more information about this new disaster preparedness program, visit: and