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Get Ready for Call Center Surge: A Toolkit for Local Health Departments


Developed in 2010 by Public Health-Seattle & King County, this public information call center toolkit is intended for LHDs with plans to develop call center capacity to handle an increase in requests for information from the public. This toolkit is intended to serve as a resource to help you develop a plan for your call center services that can be applied to all hazards. The web-based toolkit is designed to help those jurisdictions with a basic understanding of call center principles. An Internet connection with Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome is needed to view the toolkit.

The 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic was literally a "wake-up call." Chances are there were days when your health department phones rang off the hook with people wanting information and reassurance. Did you adequately meet callers' needs? Were serious gaps identified in your operations? Was your technology an asset or a liability? You undoubtedly learned a lot. So whether you're planning for front desk staff or an entire call center, the Get Ready for Call Center Surge toolkit is designed to help you enhance your resources before the next emergency. Because ready or not, the public will call.

The goal of this toolkit is to help you develop and, or enhance existing resources and partnerships to increase call center capacity and improve the effectiveness of phone-based emergency communications with the public.

This web toolkit consists of five sections that will guide you through call center planning elements, considerations for activating and operating a call center, demobilization triggers, and discuss tools and content for training your call center operators. Each section contains resources, tools and samples on topics such as staffing, logistics, activation triggers, developing content, and handling difficult calls.

Primary Toolkit:

APC Toolkit

Keyword Area:

Advanced Practice Centers, All-Hazards, Natural Disaster, Pandemic Influenza, Workforce Competency


Institutional Author:

Seattle & King County Advanced 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.