Public Health Preparedness

The Columbia County Department of Health Public Health Preparedness Program helps the county to get ready for emergencies by:

  • Planning for emergencies,
  • Conducting emergency drills, and
  • Educating community members about how they can be prepared.

We work with other agencies, such as Columbia County Emergency Management Office, the New York State Department of Health, the New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, and many others to help the county prepare for and respond to emergencies.

For up-to-date emergency information, please check out the Columbia County 911 Facebook Page or the Columbia County Emergency Management Facebook Page.


Download the Columbia County Health Department mobile app:

How can we prepare for emergencies?

Emergency preparedness means taking steps to be ready for emergencies before they happen. Some emergencies that may affect Columbia County are: winter storms, thunderstorms, power outages, flooding, disease outbreaks, and pandemic flu.

The Columbia County Department of Health urges community members to get themselves and their families ready for emergencies by having an emergency plan, making an emergency kit, and staying informed. Remember, Make a Plan, Make a Kit, and Be Informed.

We also encourage county residents to become volunteers for emergency preparedness and response activities. Becoming a volunteer is a wonderful way to get to know and help your community.

More about how the Columbia County Department of Health prepares for emergencies:

Conducting PODs – A POD, which stands for Point of Dispensing/Distribution, is a place where people can go to receive vaccines or medications in times of public health emergency to protect against illness. CCDOH conducts PODs during public health emergencies, but also does PODs during other times to practice for emergencies. During an emergency, community members might be instructed to go to a POD to receive any necessary vaccines/medication.

Conducting community outreach and education – We teach community members of all ages how to get themselves and their families ready for an emergency by making a plan, making a kit, and staying informed. We also teach about flu preparedness and prevention through hand washing education. CCDOH has adapted some American Red Cross programs for Columbia County — these programs include “Masters of Disaster” (to teach children about preparedness), “Be Red Cross Ready” (to teach adults about preparedness), and “The Scrubby Bear Hand Washing Program” (to teach children about hand washing and infection/flu prevention).

Helping community members to be aware of and prepared for potential emergencies – by checking on patients, long-term care facilities, home care agencies, migrant workers and farmers, new mothers and their families, and others before an emergency (i.e. before a major winter storm) to make sure they know how to get themselves and their families ready for emergencies.

Writing emergency response plans – These are submitted to and reviewed by New York State Department of Health.

Responding to emergencies of all types – We work with the Columbia County Emergency Management Office and various other community agencies at the county Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and in the field to respond to emergencies and disasters. CCDOH, along with other response agencies, uses the Incident Command System (ICS), a FEMA approach to managing incidents – which allows for coordinated response among various jurisdictions and agencies.

Assisting agencies, with mutual aid agreements and plans to promote efficiency, communication, and cooperation during emergencies.

Volunteer During Emergencies

Have you ever thought about volunteering, but didn’t know how you could help your community? Or are you an experienced volunteer looking to expand your skills and opportunities? Please consider becoming a volunteer to help Columbia County to get ready for and respond to emergencies!

ServNY is a New York State registry for people who wish to volunteer during an emergency or major disaster or an emergency exercise. Your role as a volunteer will help ensure that people affected by a disaster will receive the care they need. Registering simply tells us that you are open to the idea of volunteering in case of an emergency. Please consider volunteering to help your local community.

To become a volunteer, please visit this site: Columbia County Volunteer Program. For questions about ServNY or the registration process, please call (518) 828-3358. Ask for the Public Health Preparedness Coordinator.

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Special Needs Registry

Columbia County has created a Special Needs Registry for Columbia County Residents. This registry is for those individuals with medical conditions who require assistance, have medical devices that utilize electricity, are non-ambulatory, or have restricted mobility. All information collected will be used strictly for emergency management purposes ONLY so that emergency personnel can check in on you in the event of a power outage with loss of phone service. During such an event every effort will be made to assist you. However, depending on the size and scope of the emergency, the resources available may be limited and therefore a guaranteed response cannot be made.

To join the Special Needs Registry:

  1. Review the Registry’s Notice of Privacy Practices, downloadable here.
  2. Acknowledge your receipt of Notice of Privacy Practices and register, either through our electronic registration form or by filling out and mailing in our printable registration form.
    Mail the Special Needs Registration Form to:
    Columbia County Department of Health
    Special Needs Registry
    325 Columbia Street
    Hudson, NY 12534

To remove your name from the Registry or change your special needs information, please submit a Registry Change Request.