Liability and Immunity in Public Health Emergencies

Liability and Immunity in Public Health Emergencies

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As an emergency responder, one may become exposed to legal liability caused by their participation in emergency response activities. These responders can be either employees or volunteers, and can encounter either liability or immunity. The distinction and understanding of circumstances warranting liability and immunity is crucial for emergency responders to understand. Unfortunately, an unclear understanding of legal consequences that can occur in emergency response may deter individuals from participating in response activities.  For this reason, public health emergency responders must be equipped with the knowledge of state and federal laws providing for their immunity or liability.

CEUs: 0.5 contact hours (0.05 CEUs) awarded upon successful completion


By the end of this training, the participant should be able to:

  1. Define liability within the context of public health
  2. Explain and identify types of immunity
  3. Identify both federal and state laws (differentiate between)
  4. Interpret circumstances in which public health workers are protected


Capability 3: Emergency Operations Coordination

Function 4: Manage and sustain the public health response

Capability 15: Volunteer Management

Function 3: Organize, assemble, and dispatch volunteers


Model Leadership

1.1 Solve problems under emergency conditions

1.6 Act within scope of one’s legal authority

Plan for & Improve Practice Results

3.3 Participate in improving the organization’s capacities (including, but not limited to programs, plans, policies, laws, and workforce training)

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