In Labette County, the Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) program exists to provide and maintain a high level of public-health response readiness. Responsibilities include both pre-event planning and response to infectious disease outbreaks, bioterrorism threats or attacks, and the medical component of local multi-agency emergency responses.
Nationawide, the federal government created PHEP programs in response to the events of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent anthrax in late September and October of 2001. Initially, Public Health Preparedness focused on bioterrorism; however, bioterrorism programs have matured in "all hazards" response units. PHEP functions range from disaster shelter operations to mass vaccination clinic operations.
Public Health Emergency Preparedness includes collaboration and cooperation with local, regional, state, and federal agencies and departments. Through planning and response efforts, PHEP serves a vital purpose in emergency response efforts in Labette County.