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ESF8 - Public Health and Medical Services

The National Response Framework is a guide to how the Nation responds to all types of disasters and emergencies. It is built on scalable, flexible, and adaptable concepts identified in the National Incident Management System to align key roles and responsibilities across the Nation. This Framework describes specific authorities and best practices for managing incidents that range from the serious but purely local to large-scale terrorist attacks or catastrophic natural disasters. The National Response Framework describes the principles, roles and responsibilities, and coordinating structures for delivering the core capabilities required to respond to an incident and further describes how response efforts integrate with those of the other mission areas.

National Incident Management System 3rd Ed (October 2017)

National Response Framework 3rd Ed (June 2016)

Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) is the grouping of governmental and certain private sector capabilities into an organizational structure to provide support, resources, program implementation, and services that are most likely needed to save lives, protect property and the environment, restore essential services and critical infrastructure, and help victims and communities return to normal following domestic incidents.

Emergency Support Functions

  • ESF1     Transportation
  • ESF2     Communications
  • ESF3     Public Works and Engineering
  • ESF4     Firefighting
  • ESF5     Emergency Management
  • ESF6     Mass Care, Housing, and Human Services
  • ESF7     Resources Support
  • ESF8     Public Health and Medical Services
  • ESF9     Urban Search and Rescue
  • ESF10   Oil and Hazardous Materials Response
  • ESF11   Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • ESF12   Energy
  • ESF13   Public Safety and Security
  • ESF14   Long-term Community Recovery and Mitigation
  • ESF15   External Affairs

EFS-8 Public Health and Medical Services

ESF-8 is responsible for the following core functional areas:

  • Assessment of public health/medical needs
  • Health surveillance
  • Medical care personnel
  • Health/medical/veterinary equipment and supplies
  • Patient evacuation
  • Patient care
  • Safety and security of drugs, biologics, and medical devices
  • Blood and blood products
  • Food safety and security
  • Agriculture safety and security
  • All-hazard public health and medical consultation, technical assistance, and support
  • Behavioral health care
  • Public health and medical information
  • Vector control
  • Potable water/wastewater and solid waste disposal
  • Mass fatality management, victim identification, and decontaminating remains
  • Veterinary medical support

Local, State, and Federal Primary ESF-8 Agency

At each level of jurisdiction, the Primary ESF-8 Coordinating Agency falls to the following:

Jurisdiction Agency
Local Local Public Health Department
State Inidana State Department of Health
Federal US Health and Human Services







Each jurisdiction works with emergency management to provide input to the jurisdiction's Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan's (CEMP) ESF-8 Annex that details the roles and responsibilities of ESF-8, as well as the roles and responsibility of ESF-8 supporting partners.

National ESF-8 Public Health and Medical Services Annex (June 2016)

In each jurisdiction, the Primary ESF-8 Coordinating Agency is often responsible for staffing the ESF-8 seat in the jurisdictions Emergency Operations Center during emergencies and disasters. In the Emergency Operations Center, all ESFs and Emergency Management coordinate the response.