In view of the critical role local health departments (LHDs) play among agencies responsible for responding to natural and man-made emergencies, Bevc et al. examined the LHDs’ emergency preparedness and capacity. They compared LHDs in North Carolina with those across the country for preparedness along eight domains. Significant declines in emergency preparedness were noted from 2010 to 2012 for five out of eight domains, raising questions about our national priority concerning this important function of public health agencies. These findings have numerous implications, some of which are covered in this commentary.
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