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Emergency Operations Plan - ESF 8 and 8a

All levels of government share the responsibility for working together in preparing for, preventing, responding to, and recovering from the effects of an emergency or disaster event.

The Colorado State Emergency Operations Plan is maintained by the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and defines the roles and responsibilities for various state agencies during a disaster. These responsibilities are assigned in the form of Emergency Support Functions (ESF).


The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is the lead agency for ESF 8: Health, Medical and Mortuary and ESF 8a: Behavioral Health.

ESF 8 provides supplemental assistance to local and tribal governments in identifying and meeting the public health and medical needs of victims of a disaster. The department coordinates Colorado health, medical and mortuary resources that may be needed to supplement depleted county and municipal assets in response to emergency public health, medical care and mortuary needs following a significant natural or manmade disaster. More information on ESF 8  is available in this presentation created by our office.


ESF 8a ensures an efficient, effective and coordinated behavioral health (both mental health and substance use) response to community need in time of disaster. This plan enables the state to maximize the use of personnel, facilities and other resources in providing behavioral health assistance to disaster survivors, emergency response personnel and the community at large.

The types of assistance that the department is capable of rendering to local jurisdictions during an emergency include:


  • Health Surveillance

  • Biological Hazards Consultation

  • Pharmaceutical Supplies and Distribution

  • Assessment of Health/Medical Needs

  • Health/Medical Equipment and Supplies

  • Medical Care Personnel

  • Mortuary Services

  • Food and Drug Safety

  • Potable Water/Wastewater

  • Solid Waste Disposal

  • Radiological and Chemical Hazards Consultation

  • Vector Control

  • Environmental Impact Assistance

  • Public Health Information

  • Behavioral Health Assistance 

In the event of a large-scale emergency, all department employees may be called upon to support the agency’s response efforts. As such, the department's preparedness efforts depend on the existence of response plans, policies, training and equipment necessary to prevent, respond to, and recover from major events.



Please contact us if you have any further questions