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What is a HERC?


  • A healthcare emergency readiness coalition (HERC) is comprised of a core group of hospitals and healthcare organizations, local and tribal public health agencies, state, regional, and local and tribal emergency management, and emergency medical services, as well as additional members. These partners collaborate for the common goal of making their communities safer, healthier, and more resilient.  Wisconsin has seven regional HERCs that support communities before, during, and after disasters and other health-related crises.


  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) funds Wisconsin’s HERCs. ASPR leads the country in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from the adverse health effects of emergencies and disasters. ASPR’s Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) enables the health care delivery system to save lives during emergencies and disaster events that exceed the day-to-day capacity and capability of existing health and emergency response systems. 

  • HPP is the only source of federal funding for health care delivery system readiness, intended to improve patient outcomes, minimize the need for federal and supplemental state resources during emergencies, and enable rapid recovery. HPP prepares the health care delivery system to save lives through the development of health care coalitions (HCCs). In Wisconsin, these are known as healthcare emergency readiness coalitions (HERCs). 

  • The overall goal of the HERC is to help Wisconsin communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from a disaster as quickly as possible. Through coordinated preparation, response, and recovery efforts, HERC members work to create a more resilient Wisconsin." 

  • Benefits of HERC Membership.       

    • Public Health:  Local and tribal public health agencies benefit from HERC membership by collaborating through planning, training and exercising to meet preparedness grant objectives and accreditation requirements. HERCs also provide coordination, support, and resource management during public health related emergencies.

    • Emergency Medical Services: EMS agencies benefit from HERC membership by participating in HERC-supported training and exercise opportunities, including those related to responder safety and health. 

    • Hospitals: Hospitals benefit from HERC membership through technology advancements, enhanced communication for situational awareness, information sharing during actual events, and overall incident coordination, support, and resource management .

    • Emergency Management: Local, tribal, and regional emergency management benefits from HERC membership through collaboration and support of medical and health needs during and incident or disaster. 

    • Additional Members: Providers that are part of the continuum of the healthcare delivery system, including skilled nursing facilities. pharmacies, blood banks, dialysis centers, among others, benefit from HERC membership by playing a vital role in ensuring healthcare delivery in the time of a disaster. 

What have we done so far?

  • Reviewed & updated regional Response Plan, 

  • Developed regional Readiness Plan 

  • Developed a draft Communications Plan

  • Developed scholarships for coalition

  • Fire at Whitehall with 100% evacuation with no injuries and 100% accountability of all staff and patients

  • Monroe County had a joint TTX with Jackson Co regarding a DOT EHS scenario  

  • Buffalo County - We held a tabletop exercise last August in Fountain City that encompassed a train derailment with Bakken Crude oil.

  • 1 Active Shooter Full Scale in a school

  • 1 Active Shooter Tabletop at Dairyland Power-Genoa

  • 1 Active Shooter Full scale at Dairyland Power-Genoa

  • 1 Tabletop for a chemical spill at a facility

  • 1 Tabletop for a power outage at a long-term care facility

  • Crawford county - full scale train derailment with Crossing Rivers Health, Vernon Memorial Hospital, Tri-State Ambulance, Crawford County Public Health and EM; along with fire and police

  • La Crosse County: 

    • HazMat IQ – Propane                          

    • Meters - Monitoring your Safety  

    • Tactical Chemistry             

    • Advanced IQ                          

    • Flammable Liquid Tank Truck and Foam                    

    • HazMat IQ Air Monitoring               

    • Viterbo University TTX, Structure fire scenario

    • Kwik Trip EPCRA TTX, Chemical release scenario

    • Rural EMS Day                                        

  • EPA Water, Public Health, and HERC Workshop,  Municipal water system impacts to healthcare facilities scenario

  • Lakeview Healthcare TTX, Structure fire scenario

  • Viterbo University TTX,   Active shooter scenario

  • Town of Holland TTX,       Flood scenario

  • Full scale active shooter exercise Tomah Memorial Hospital

  • MCI with bus & train full scale exercise, Gundersen Hospital La Crosse

  • ASPR mandated CST exercise, 100% transfer rate

  • NIMS training

  • ICS 300 & 400 training

  • Patient DECON training

  • 2 HICS training courses

  • CERC Training

  • 3 Opioid Conferences conducted

  • Received grant for funding online web training for Opioid and drug abuse

  • Coalition Funded: 

    • 1,000 Pocket Mask for region

    • 315 STB Kits

    • Upgraded three operations centers around region

    • 2,000 RX disposable kits

    • 250 SM SHARPS containers

    • 7/9LG (Mailbox Size) SHARPS containers

    • 225 Bereavement Training slots

    • 200 Bereavement Packets

    • NFPA 3000 manuals for all fire departments in region

    • 170 Resident evacuation vests for Long Term Care facilities

Join Us

Our team consists of Trauma Centers and Hospital's Providers, Emergency Medical Service Organizations, Emergency Management Organizations, Long-Term Care, Public Health, Fire and Law

Contact Us

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