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Staff Allocation Decision Guide


This tool guides an experienced Local Health Department (LHD) administrator or Incident Commander through decision-making processes to allocate staff both in advance of, and during, a public health emergency. 1) Disease investigation due to a naturally occurring disease, food-borne outbreak, or bioterrorist event; 2) Mass prophylaxis. While the tool applies to any incident calling for both disease investigation and prophylaxis operations, it is aimed at larger scale emergency operations requiring rapid decision-making to obtain and allocate surge staff resources—decisions that may have to be justified to and approved by authorities within, or outside of, the LHD. Tool worksheets:

  • Decision points in a flow diagram representing various points in disease investigation and mass prophylaxis operations
  • Response questions for decision-makers to consider when collecting information to make decisions
  • Staffing needs based on plans, the scenario, and specific decisions

Although intended for disease investigation and mass prophylaxis operations, this tool operates within a greater public health context that may involve other interventions. Organizes complex information into simpler categories that will help determine resource needs based on the local situation, operational objectives, plans, and partnerships. For example:

  • Tested plans that will achieve operational objectives
  • Risk communication plans to make the public an informed partner able to adhere to public health recommendations or requirements
  • Partner organizations that provide staffing resources to LHD operations, or that independently conduct operations
The tool includes an emergency scenario to illustrate tool use and a related public health decision-making pathway.

Primary Toolkit:

APC Toolkit

Keyword Area:

Advanced Practice Centers, All-Hazards, Incident Command System, Infectious Diseases, Isolation and Quarantine, Mass Prophylaxis, MRC, NIMS, Pandemic Influenza, Surge Capacity, Volunteer, Workforce Competency


Institutional Author:

Multnomah County Adavced Practice Center





The NACCHO Toolbox is a repository of available resources to help local public health practitioners. Tools are produced by local, state, and federal agencies, as well as academic institutions and other stakeholders. The contents of this Toolbox are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect any official recommendations of NACCHO. NACCHO makes no express or implied warranty with respect to the contents and disclaims liability for any damages arising from or connected to the use of the material in this Toolbox.