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Page updated Aug 7, 2015 12:50 PM

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Public Health Emergency Management

The Public Health Emergency Management Division enhances readiness and resilience in communities throughout the City of Alexandria through emergency planning, training, drills/exercises, and outreach.    

Are You Ready? 

Emergencies in the City of Alexandria can take many forms—from winter storms and extreme heat to flooding, tornadoes, and disease outbreaks. In addition to physical threats, these events may also have health consequences. Safe drinking water could be difficult to find. Keeping and preparing food safely could be challenging. Diseases could spread more easily. Now is a good time to prepare for any type of emergency that may occur. Follow these four easy steps to get ready! 


1. Be Informed

Learn about the potential emergencies that can happen where you live and the appropriate ways to respond to them. When you know what to do, you can plan with your household and prepare in advance to be ready.  

Natural Disasters & Severe Weather | Bioterrorism | Chemical Emergencies | Mass Casualties | Radiation Emergencies | Recent Outbreaks and Incidents 

 2. Make a Plan

 Plan for what you and your loved ones will do during an emergency, including how you will get to a safe place, how you will contact one another, and how you will get back together. Then practice your plan on a regular basis, at least twice a year.  

Visit to learn about Family Communication during an emergency, download a Family Emergency Plan template, and read more about school and workplace plans.

3. Build a Kit

Stock enough food, water, and other supplies to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours. Begin collecting the items on this supply list to assemble your emergency kit. Store an emergency kit at home, at work, and in your vehicle. 

4.  Get Involved

Once you and your family are ready for emergencies, get involved in preparing your community. Consider volunteering with the Alexandria Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) to support your community during public health emergencies. 



 Public Health Emergency Management has developed emergency operations plans to guide response to public health emergencies in the City of Alexandria. Our local planning priorities are shaped by the Virginia Department of Health and the CDC’s Public Health Preparedness Capabilities. 

We are available to assist local health and medical providers, including clinics, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and dialysis centers, in developing and implementing emergency operations plans. Please contact Mary Laurel Castle, Assistant Health Emergency Coordinator at 703.746.4952 or 


We provide free public health emergency preparedness training in the community. Training can be targeted towards neighborhood associations, faith-based organizations, businesses, and any other community groups. Please contact Mary Laurel Castle, Assistant Health Emergency Coordinator at 703.746.4952 or for more information. 


Public Health Emergency Management participates in drills and exercises with City agencies, regional organizations, the Virginia Department of Health, and other partners such as healthcare facilities and businesses. Drills and exercises enable us to test our emergency operations plans and build a stronger public health emergency response capability. 

Recently, we conducted an evacuation tabletop exercise with a local nursing home and other partners as well as a bioterrorism drill with the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office. 


We participate in community events throughout the City, including health fairs, farmers’ markets, festivals, and other gatherings to provide public health preparedness information and expertise. Please contact MRC Coordinator and Outreach Committee Chair at 703.746.4978 for additional information. 

Additional Resources 

Many helpful resources for preparing for and responding to public health emergencies are available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

Preparation & Planning | Training & Education | Health & Safety Concerns during Disasters | Coping with a Disaster | Blog: Public Health Matters