Emergency Preparedness and Response Program
Emergency Preparedness Division Local health departments across the nation have always been
responsible for prevention the spread of reportable diseases. Since 2002, through the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness program and the IL
Department of Public Health, Will County Health Department (WCHD) is among 94 local health
departments in IL to receive funding for emergency preparedness. These funds allow WCHD the
capacity and capability to effectively respond to a public health event, including biological
emergencies like anthrax, infectious disease outbreaks, and natural disasters. WCHD Emergency
Preparedness & Response program works with many federal, state and local governments and
private agencies to provide a quick response to potential public health emergencies. WCHD is
responsible for planning and preparing to quickly and safely distribute medicine during a public
health emergency to the residents of Will County. These medicines, supplied by the government
from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), may keep people from getting sick. In order to quickly
dispense medications in Will County, the health department has planned and prepared to open
Points of Dispensing (PODs). A POD is a place that will be used to dispense medicines to a large
number of people.
Coordinating the Countywide Response to a Biological Attack
Bioterrorism is a form of terrorism using biologic agents that are harmful to humans. This form of
terrorism involves the deliberate release of viruses, bacteria, or other germs (agents) used to cause
illness or death in people, animals, or plants. Biological agents can be spread through the air,
through water, or in food. Terrorists may prefer to use biological agents because they can be
extremely difficult to detect and do not cause illness for several hours to several days.
The Emergency Preparedness and Response division of the Will County Health Department plays
the leading role in coordinating the countywide response to a real or potential biological attack. To
this end, our organization works with local first responders, hospitals, schools, and government
agencies to establish protocols for investigation of and response to any suspicious communicable
disease outbreak or potential biological attack. In the event of an actual biological attack, the Health
Department will coordinate a countywide response with the above agencies, provide updated
information to the general public, and facilitate medical management of exposed persons. Planning
by government agencies however, no matter how competent, is no substitute for enhanced citizen
awareness of the dangers of bioterrorism. The links and information on this page are designed to
help every citizen become aware of the signs that a bioterror attack is imminent or occurring.
Medical Reserve Corps
In order to meet the public health needs during critical events, the Will County
Health Department, in collaboration with the Will County Emergency
Management Agency, has formed a Medical Reserve Corps and we are actively
recruiting new members. We welcome all kinds of volunteers with medical and non-medical skills.
Healthcare professionals, such as nurses, pharmacists, medical assistants, and physicians are
needed as well as people who can serve as registration clerks, health educators, interpreters, etc.