Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service

Environmental Health Officer Professional Advisory Committee

Deployment Resources

Pre-Deployment and DeploymentReturn to top of page

Click hereThis is a link to an external site to link to the CDC Emergency Preparedness and Response website ( That website is CDC's primary source of information and resources for preparing for and responding to public health emergencies. The site continues to keep the public informed about public health emergencies and provides the information needed to protect and save lives.

Water-Related Emergencies and Outbreaks

Water-related emergency preparedness and outbreak response has become one of the most significant and crucial issues in recent history. Individuals, families, and businesses have been advised to be prepared for emergencies by creating disaster supply kits that include appropriate amounts of safe drinking water. Emergencies can include natural disasters (for example, hurricanes, floods, and droughts) man-made disasters (for example, intentional contamination), and outbreaks (for example, infections linked to water exposure). Preparedness resources include preparedness toolkits, preparedness training, and directions for emergency disinfection. Click hereThis is a link to an external site to link to the CDC website for water-realted emergencies and outbreaks.

Post-DeploymentReturn to top of page

The Readiness Subcommittee conducted a survey during February 2014 to determine primary Environmental Health Officer (EHO) domestic deployment roles, equipment and supplies utilized during deployments, adequacy of existing deployment guidance, and training needs. Respondents completed the survey based on their most recent Office of Force Readiness and Deployment (OFRD) domestic deployment. Survey Report - PDF: 12 pages, 350 KB 

The Lessons Learned Information Sharing ProgramThis is a link to an external site is a Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency program. LLISP serves as the national, online network of lessons learned, best practices, and innovative ideas for the emergency management and homeland security communities.

Deployment NarrativesReturn to top of page

Commander Timothy Jiggens, 2015 Environmental Health Officer Responder of the Year. (PDF: 880 KB, 3 pages)  A look back at CDR Jiggens deployments to West Africa as part of the Ebloa Disaster Assistance Response Team.

Captain Calvin Edwards (PDF: 131 KB, 3 pages)  An outline of CAPT Edwards deployment to Harbel, Liberia as the Officer in Charge of Monrovia Medical Unit Team 1 between October and December of 2014.

Officer - Teams

Officer ReadinessReturn to top of page

Maintaining readiness is a vital component to ensuring that the Public Health Service has officers that are physically capable of deploying to austere environments. Immediately upon their Call to Active Duty, new officers must begin the process of meeting the readiness standards. It should be understand that several of the required vaccinations require a series of shots and waiting to start may result in an officer not meeting readiness standards within their first year of duty.

Additionally, officers are checked each quarter to ensure they are maintaining the readiness standards. Click hereThis link goes to an external site. for the Basic Readiness Checklist.

State SupportReturn to top of page

Environmental Health Officers are deployed either by their agency as a responsibility of their duty station or to support the needs of a state. Once a state has demonstrated they have exhausted their internal resources and assistance is not available from other states, resources can be requested and received from the federal government.

During a declared emergency, public health and medical assets are coordinated by the US Department of Health and Human Services, specifically the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). ASPR utilizes the Regional Emergency Coordinators to serve as the primary contact with the public health and medical state contact.

Environmental Health Officers can have a variety of roles during an incident or event. To document some of these capabilities, the subcommittee has developed the following Environmental Health Officer Deployment Pamphlet. Click here to view the pamphlet (PDF: 96 KB, 2 pages). This pamphlet briefly describes the roles EHOs play for support to state and local health agencies during deployments and emergency responses.

Deployment TeamsReturn to top of page

The Office of Force Readiness and Deployment (OFRD) has been charged with developing, training, and maintaining the PHS response teams. Environmental Health Officers can serve on any PHS team as long as they have the capabilities required; however, Environmental Health Officers typically serve on either the Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) or Applied Public Health Teams (APHT). A complete list and description of PHS teams can be located on OFRD's website. Primary differences between the two deployment roles as they relate to Environmental Health Officers are provided below. Officers not on a PHS team are considered to be Tier 3 Officers; when activated, these officers will typically augment either an RDF or an APHT.

  • RDF- A Tier 1 team, ready to deploy in 12 hours. Primary areas of activities include mass care, point of distribution operations, medical surge, isolation and quarantine, pre-hospital triage and treatment, community outreach and assessment, and humanitarian assistance.
  • APHT- A Tier 2 team, ready to deploy in 36 hours. Primary areas of activities include epidemiology/surveillance, preventive (medical) services delivery, environmental public health (air, water, wastes, vectors, food, safety, shelter, industrial hygiene, etc.)
  • Regional Incident Support Team (RIST) – A Tier 1 team, ready to deploy in 12 hours within the assigned HHS region. RIST deployments are typically very short, and are deployable year-round. Officers live and work within the deployment region. Primary areas of activities include rapid event needs assessment; support and direction for incoming response assets; liaison with State, Tribal and local officials; on-site incident management; response asset health and safety.
  • National Incident Support Team (NIST) – A Tier 1 team, ready to deploy in 12 hours. Primary areas of activities include continual event needs assessment; support and direction for incoming response assets; coordination of deployed field assets; liaison with State, Tribal and local officials; on-site incident management; response asset health and safety; demobilization support.
  • Capitol Area Provider Teams (CAP) – A Tier 2 team, ready to deploy in 36 hours. CAPs provide medical and public health resources and assistance in the National Capitol Region for special events and other planned activities. Primary areas of activities include first responder and primary care; basic and advanced life support; pre-hospital triage and treatment; point of distribution operation (mass prophylaxis and vaccination); medical surge; on-site incident management; worker health and safety.
  • Mental Health Team (MHT) – A Tier 2 team, ready to deploy in 36 hours, staffed primarily with mental health and social work officers. Primary areas of activities include incident personnel assessment (diagnosis and treatment); screening for suicide risk, acute and chronic stress reactions, substance abuse, and mental health disorders; supporting development of behavioral health training programs for impacted populations; specialized counseling; psychological first aid, crisis intervention, and time-limited counseling for serious mental illness and/or substance abuse.
  • Services Access Team (SAT) – A Tier 2 team, ready to deploy in 36 hours. Primary areas of activities include needs assessment, plan development/cultural sensitivity; advocating/connecting populations to services; clinical care coordination; continuity/transition management; psycho-social management; re-integration; and confidentiality assurance.


MembershipReturn to top of page

Eligible members are readiness qualified PHS commissioned corps officers belonging to the EHO Category serving on active or on active reserve duty or their civil service counterparts. Participation of state and local environmental health practitioners as ad hoc or advisory members to the Subcommittee is encouraged. Subcommittee members are selected to represent a variety of Agencies/Operating Divisions and technical areas relating to general environmental health, food safety, industrial hygiene/occupational health, hazardous materials and safety. Members must also possess a vast knowledge of emergency deployments and have successfully participated in a number of deployments either through their agency or the Office of Force Readiness and Deployment. Every effort will be made to ensure a good mixture of rank/grade, gender, ethnic background and geographic representation when selecting incoming members. The Subcommittee will be chaired by a member of the EHOPAC appointed by the EHOPAC Chairperson.

ApplicationReturn to top of page

At this time the subcommittee does not have vacancies. Notifications of vacancies will be sent out on the EHOPAC listserve.

VolunteerReturn to top of page

From time to time, the Subcommittee has a need for non-voting volunteers to assist with special projects. If you would like to be considered for volunteer opportunities, please submit an email to Chris van Twuyver at that describes your background and experiences.

Readiness Specific TrainingReturn to top of page

Environmental Health Training in Emergency Response (EHTER) – Awareness Level

Sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) in Anniston, AL, the EHTER Awareness Level course consists of 10 modules that provide an overview of key environmental health topics, issues, and challenges faced during emergency response. These include food safety, potable water, wastewater, shelters, vector control and pest management, building assessment, solid waste and hazardous materials, radiation, responder safety, and disaster management. The overall purpose of the course is to increase the level of emergency preparedness of environmental health practitioners and other emergency response personnel by providing them with the necessary knowledge, skills, and resources to address the environmental health impacts of emergencies and disasters. For more information about both the in-person and online versions of this course, please visit CDC's EHTER- Awareness Level webpage by clicking hereThis is a link to an external site (

Page Last Modified on 7/26/2017

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