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Emergency Response


Emergencies, outbreaks of disease, and chemical incidents have the potential to cause disruption for communities on a large scale.

Disease outbreaks and chemical incidents can develop very rapidly - so preparation and emergency planning are essential components in minimising the impact on the public.

The growing threat of global terrorism means we need to be prepared to deal with incidents that could involve chemical, biological, and radioactive materials. This means new plans and new expertise.

Emergency preparedness specialists embedded throughout the agency play an important role in training and exercising the healthcare community.  Additionally, staff in the Emergency Response Department provide a central source of authoritative scientific/medical information and other specialist advice to support the response to public health emergencies.


CBRN incidents: A guide to clinical management and health protection

This guide to clinical management and health protection in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) incidents, has been written primarily for front line healthcare professionals in emergency departments. It also has some sections which are relevant in other emergencies and outbreaks of infectious disease.

›› CBRN incidents: A guide to clinical management and health protection

Extreme weather events and natural disasters

The HPA's new extreme events and health protection section collates information about natural disasters and extreme weather events both from within the HPA and from national and international partners, and provides relevant up-to-date evidence based information to support the planning for extreme events.

›› Extreme weather events and natural disasters

HPA Exercise Programme

The HPA Emergency Response Department leads a series of exercises across England to enable the NHS to improve health preparedness to a range of potential incidents, including natural hazards, Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) events and new or re-emerging threats.

›› HPA Exercise Programme

Deliberate and Accidental Releases

The Deliberate and Accidental Releases pages provide information targeted at health care professionals and the public on the major biological, chemical and radiological deliberate release threat agents.The information is also relevant when considering naturally occurring outbreaks or accidental releases.

›› Deliberate and Accidental Releases