Creating a State-Wide Public Health Emergency Operations Plan Linked to Local and Regional Realities

Client The Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Practice Area Emergency Preparedness

The Opportunity for Integration

Prior to 2009, BME Strategies supported local government and Public Health staff in the creation of more than 100 individual city and town All-Hazards Emergency Operations Plans (EOP)s. Through these partnerships, BME Strategies supported a review of the existing capability and capacity of communities to respond to local Public Health Emergencies and crafted plans for how each community or region could best plan, respond, and mitigate future emergencies requiring a Public Health response. In 2010, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) selected BME Strategies as a partner for the development of a new State-Wide Emergency Operations Plan for the Department to ensure a robust state-wide coordinated response.

How BME Strategies Responded

The planning process involved a diverse set of stakeholders from local and state governments, various hospital and healthcare institutions, and other affiliated entities throughout Massachusetts. BME Strategies facilitated a series of discussions to inform the research and discovery, and to launch the planning process.  The resulting plan addressed a wide-variety of critical response functions including but not limited to: departmental Incident Command System, purpose and scope, roles and responsibilities, cross-jurisdictional coordination, crisis and risk communication, activation procedures, departmental incident command, emergency operations center operational protocols, recovery processes, and ongoing response and plan maintenance. Once drafted, the plan was circulated for review and revisions from the EOP planning committee comprised of representatives from the original set of key stakeholders.  

The Results

MDPH and BME Strategies developed and finalized a new state-wide Emergency Operations Plan. The plan served as a practical guidance documentation for the mitigation, preparation, response, and recovery of Public Health Emergencies in the State of Massachusetts.

Overall Impact Statement

BME Strategies led the development of a new All-Hazards state-wide Emergency Operations Plan for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. This plan reflected prior local and regional planning efforts, including the state-wide hospital response and evacuation toolkit that BME Strategies developed with the Harvard Center for Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response. These combined planning efforts were done to further strengthen linkages between local and state response systems to protect the health of all communities throughout the Commonwealth.