Public Health Emergency Preparedness


The Evanston Health & Human Services Department has been responding to public health emergencies for over 140 years.  Originally, these emergencies were limited to infectious disease outbreaks, but after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the anthrax attacks that followed, our scope has broadened to include everything from deliberate releases of biological agents, to extreme weather conditions, to epidemics and pandemics of influenza and other communicable diseases.

Our work focuses on four main areas: mitigation, preparation, response and recovery.  We strive to reduce the effects of a disaster, while planning for a response in advance, so that we are better prepared in times of emergency.   Recovery is a critical, long term process to return the community to its pre-disaster state or even improve from its pre-disaster state.  We test these areas during drills and exercises to ensure continuous quality improvement.

As a large component of our planning, we collaborate with other City agencies as well as local health departments across the region and the Illinois Department of Public Health.  Non-governmental partners include local healthcare entities, schools and businesses to ensure a coordinated and effective community response to public health emergencies.  By using the Incident Command System (ICS), we have a common language and understanding of preparedness and response across disciplines.

Community members are also critical preparedness partners. The Department houses a volunteer group called the Evanston Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), which is committed to improving the health and safety of our residents.  This group is open to anyone who has an interest in community health – you do not need to be a medical professional.  Visit the MRC web page for more information.

For after hours communicable disease or bioterrorism emergencies, please call 847-448-4311 and stay on the line to be connected to someone immediately.