Public Health Preparedness

Learn about Emergency Preparedness
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Public Health Preparedness

The Princeton Health Department strives to keep Princeton residents up to date about preparedness for possible public health emergencies, including those caused by terrorism, weather disasters and naturally-occurring diseases such as "bird-flu."

The Princeton Health Department is an active participant of local, regional and statewide preparedness exercises to ensure readiness for public health related emergencies.  To find information on how you can help the community in times of emergency, consider joining CERT (Community Emergency Response Team). 

The following links on this page provide regularly updated information that is part of our ongoing effort to promote awareness of these issues among residents:

How to make an emergency kit  (English / Spanish)

New Jersey Department of Health Emergency Preparedness 

Centers for Disease Control:  Public Health Preparedness and Response 

Centers for Disease Control:  Preparedness Supplies to Gather  

Centers for Disease Control:  Preparedness Poster, What to Gather in an Emergency

Centers for Disease Control:  Gather Your Emergency Water Supply

Centers for Disease Control:  Gather Your Emergency Food Supply

Centers for Disease Control:  Emergency, Pet Checklist

Emergency Preparedness

What is a public health emergency?

A public health emergency includes natural disasters, severe weather, radiation emergencies, contaminated drinking water, disease outbreaks, bioterrorism, pandemic influenza, chemical emergencies and any other emergency that threatens the public’s health.

Depending on the type of emergency you may be instructed to take different actions. You may have to evacuate your home or workplace and follow an evacuation route to the nearest shelter. If the emergency is health related such as an act of bioterrorism or a pandemic you may be directed towards a dispensing site to receive necessary medications. You may be asked Shelter-in-Place, which means to remain in your workplace or home to protect yourself during an emergency. It is important to listen to the radio or TV for further instructions.

The Princeton Health Department actively participates in public health preparedness exercises and provides the public with resources to help them prepare and respond to emergencies.

What you can do to prepare

Make a kit:

It is important to prepare yourself and your family in case a public health emergency occurs. Important items to include in your kit are listed below.

  • Water- store at least one gallon of water per day per person for three days; however, you should try to reserve a two week supply of water.
  • Food- store a 3-day supply of nonperishable food. This includes canned soup, canned vegetables, nuts, dry pasta, etc.
  • Medicine- make sure you have at least a 3-day supply of all your medications.
  • Personal care items- soap, a toothbrush, baby wipes and blankets/sleeping bags.
  • Electronics- flashlights, cellphones, batteries and a radio.
  • Documents- hold on to family documents such as bank records, birth certificates, and insurance policies.
  • Pets- store a 3-day supply of food and water, a pet first aid kit, disposable bags, cleaning supplies, medical records and toys.

For more helpful information visit:

Have a plan: Having a family plan in the event of a public health emergency is crucial. Since you and your family may not be together when an emergency occurs, it is important to have multiple meeting places. Choose a meeting place in your neighborhood, outside of your neighborhood, and right outside of your town. Have an emergency contact and make sure everyone in your family has memorized the number. Everyone in your family should know how to text because text messages can still go through even when a phone call cannot. Lastly, a contact card can be helpful to all family members so they know exactly what to do, where to go and whom to contact in the case of an emergency.

For more helpful information visit:

Stay updated: It is important to stay updated and informed by listening to the radio, watching a reliable news source or checking social media. You can get local emergency and nonemergency alerts through Princeton’s Mass Notification System. To see other ways of staying informed, visit

How businesses can prepare

It is extremely important for businesses to have an emergency management plan in place. Many businesses cannot afford to reopen after an emergency strikes, thus it is important to be proactive and have a plan in place. New Jersey has created a checklist for business to see how they can prepare and recover in case of a public health emergency,

In the event of an emergency, employees may be stuck at their workplace for hours or days. Businesses should have a disaster supplies kit that includes food, water, first aid supplies, medications, flashlight and a radio.

For more information on emergency preparedness, financial assistance and disaster cleanup for your business visit,

As a businesses, it is extremely important to protect your employees during a public health emergency. Protecting your employees and their family will benefit the whole community and your business. If your employees are healthy, your business can continue to operate. Your business may be eligible to become a closed dispensing site for medications during a public health emergency. For helpful information on becoming a closed dispensing site click here.

Coping with public health emergencies and disasters

Public health emergencies and disasters can be traumatizing for many people. If needed, it is important to get help for yourself as well as for your children.

Additional Resources

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Relevant Documents

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2018 Annual Police Report22

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