Health threats from infectious disease outbreaks, bioterrorism events and natural disaster events require a coordinated response from multiple government agencies to save lives. Local health departments, including the North Shore Health Department (NSHD), are recognized as essential partners in emergency response situations because of our capacity to identify, communicate and respond to everyday public health threats such as communicable diseases and human health hazards.

The NSHD regularly reviews and exercises its plans to protect North Shore residents from public health emergencies such as bioterrorism threats and infectious disease outbreaks.  If a public health emergency threatens the North Shore, the NSHD is prepared to respond by setting up mass clinics or Points of Dispensing (PODs) to provide vaccines or medications.

In order to have a comprehensive response to public health emergencies, the NSHD has collaborated and coordinated with the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management, the State of Wisconsin Division of Public Health, other local health departments, area hospitals, health care providers, Fire and Police departments, and community organizations. Plans have been developed to prepare for, identify, prevent, respond to, and recover from all types of public health emergencies.

In the event of a public health emergency

NSHD will communicate with residents in a variety of ways - our Facebook page (NSHealthDept), our Twitter account (@NSHealthDept), and our website. Additional information will be shared via television, radio, and newspapers, and you can also contact 2-1-1 (IMPACT 2-1-1). Information will include specifics about the public health threat (i.e. disease and its symptoms), who is at risk, where to go for preventative medication or vaccine, and where to seek medical attention if you become ill.

Staff can be reached around the clock to report a public health emergency.  During regular business hours (8-4:30 M-F), call 414-371-2980.  After hours, contact Bayside Dispatch at (414) 351-9900 and the appropriate public health authorities will be notified.

How you can be prepared

The NSHD wants to ensure that you are informed about and prepared for emergencies and disasters.  Residents share in the responsibility of learning about and preparing for potential public health threats and emergencies. The NSHD recommends that residents develop a disaster plan and a supply kit to be ready for natural health threats, such as a pandemic flu outbreak, an act of bioterrorism, an accidental release of a chemical or other substance, or a natural disaster (i.e., tornado or flood). The following links contain valuable information to help you prepare your family for the unexpected. 

  • Make a kit for your home or car. Here's a handy checklist with some of the most important items for kits.
  • Make a plan for your family, with guidance from the CDC:
  • Don't forget about your pets! Plan for them with tips from the Humane Society.
  • FEMA launched the Ready campaign in 2003 to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies, including natural and technological disasters and potential terrorist attacks. Learn more about preparedness topics from Active Shooter to Zika
  • ReadyWisconsin is our state’s counterpart to the national Ready campaign, and was launched in 2008. Learn more at:
  • Don’t be overwhelmed at the prospect of preparing your family for an emergency—do one thing at a time and you’ll be ready before you know it.  For a guide on incorporating one simple preparation per month, visit
  • Make sure that first responders know more than just your address when they respond to your 911 call.  Create a free, private, secure safety profile that can include medical issues, pet information, and any special needs in your household at SMART 911:   


Would you like to help others in an emergency?  Whether you work in a health field or not; are active, learning or retired, if you are interested in assisting during a health emergency, please register with the Wisconsin Emergency Assistance Volunteer Registry (WEAVR) today.  Registering with WEAVR allows you expedited clearance to help in our community, around the state, country and world—you pick your level of involvement:



Climate change threatens the fundamentals that sustain life and health—fresh water, food, clean air, shelter, and security—and thus threatens the health and possibly the very survival of the communities that local health departments serve.

Learn more about the health impacts of climate change.