HSEM's Role During Pandemic FAQ
HSEM, or Minnesota State Homeland Security and Emergency Management, is part of the Department of Public Safety.
Answers to questions posed at the May, 2006 pandemic plan preview meetings.
Is the continuity of operations plan in electronic format? How do we access it?
HSEM discussed COOP at the regional workshops and it will be available shortly.
We were just wondering when something specific will come out addressing the funding. When will we get the money and what can we spend?
There are two sources of pandemic influenza funding. The CDC granted the Minnesota Department of Health $1,727,045. $1,136,284 was distributed to local boards of health and tribes. Additional funding is expected to be awarded this fall. As of June 26, we have not been informed of Minnesota’s share but it is likely to be at least $3,000,000 for public health and other parts of the health care system. The Minnesota legislature authorized $5 million for state FY2007. $1,500,000 will be distributed locally and plans are being finalized for funding distribution and performance requirements. MDH and HSEM will develop a draft spending plan and communicate with local governments and state agencies.
One of our main frustrations when trying to plan on a county level is that we do not have ONE person to call and ask questions. If it is a public health question we call them with our question, etc. Can there be one person who can get answers for us?
Unfortunately there isn’t a one stop shop for pandemic planning. At the state level, each agency is more familiar with their plan and response. Although HSEM is the coordinating agency for pandemic planning and can answer general questions about other agencies, we do like to “keep in our own area of expertise” and not get too specific about other agencies plans. Each county has state regional representation that can assist with helping to find the specific answers you are looking for.
Out here all money & drug deliveries to banks and pharmacies are done by courier from Minneapolis. How will we get out supplies/money for the county if there is no courier service?
Pandemic planning for businesses is currently under way. During HSEM’s regional pandemic meeting this was one of the topics that we approached, the prioritization of your current day to day operations in the service continuation segment of the meeting. The key to service continuation planning is to prioritize your agency’s activities. Once prioritized, discussions should take place at the local level with all partners involved (supply chains, logistics, etc) to ensure that your agencies priority activities will be able to continue. Pre-planning will be very instrumental for the continuation of your services.
Is there a difference between State of Emergency Declaration and a Disaster Declaration?
Yes. Both local government and the state can declare an emergency invoking necessary portions of response and recover plans which may authorize assistance until those plans a Presidential Declaration of major disaster also the state to receive federal funding for recovery from the disaster.
Does the MN Response phases include faith communities in the planning? For example, there are statewide organizations for chaplains, and there are state, regional and local clergy organizations.
MNVOAD is the counterpart for the state of Minnesota to National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. The objectives of MNVOAD is to foster more effective service to people who have been, or may be in the future, affected by disaster through communication, coordination, cooperation, collaboration, convening mechanisms and outreach. This group is comprised of many different groups including faith based communities.
The ICS/NIMS requirements for the state Emergency Operations Center (EOC) responders seem logical. What are the requirements for these positions at the city or county level? Is there guidance on who should take what courses? Are these requirements different between emergency management and public health? Who is responsible for assuring that these trainings are completed?
- Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Division of Homeland Security
Check the HSEM website for information on NIMS and ICS requirements. Attention: Non-MDH link
Will there be funding available for NIMS training?
NIMS training is an eligible expense utilizing current grant funding for training. There is no new funding available specifically for NIMS.
When does the state plan to drill their plan to see if it works, to see if communications links are there?
The state is currently undergoing scenario based planning sessions which are working toward a fall exercise. Tests of the Health Alert Network during regular business hours and after businesses hours will continue to occur on a periodic basis, and tests of alternative communication systems are being developed. Local areas are expected to participate in at least one pandemic influenza-related exercise this calendar year. Statewide exercises of pandemic plans are a priority for the coming year.
Has there been any contact with Chambers of Commerce across the state to enhance or address communications with the private sector?
HSEM is having discussions organizations regarding this issue. Plans are being developed to include the private sector response within the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC).
MN colleges and universities are doing pandemic flu planning. Local colleges have contacted health care providers for assistance with this planning. What communication is occurring between MNSCU and MDH? What is the role of MNSCU in the planning?
Minnesota colleges and universities are in various stages of planning for pandemic flu and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU) has been in the forefront of the planning. They have drafted a plan and are holding discussions across the state with the campus leadership to develop plans that connect with local resources. They are part of the business continuation planning discussions being led by the state Department of Employee Relations (DOER).
What will the role of the National Guard be? Are local guard units being included in pre-planning for a pandemic?
Per Governor Pawlenty’s message of Nov 3, 2005, our role in a pandemic (as a support agency) is:
- Scenario One: Bird Flu (H5N1) in birds only - to provide additional workforce to state agencies.
- Scenario Two: Single or limited cases detected in humans (low transmission) – provide additional workforce to state agencies
- Scenario Three: Widespread Cases (high transmission) – activate National Guard to assist communities in maintaining basic services.
The Governor also highlighted other actions that the state is undertaking to prepare for these scenarios, including:
"The National Guard will also make available National Guard facilities to serve as field hospitals, including armories and the use of Camp Ripley as a base for medical service delivery.
To date, we have worked closely with MDH along the lines of providing security for distribution of pharmaceuticals. We have not received requests from other state agencies for their support yet. It is anticipated that the Service Continuation Plans that state agencies are drafting will identify other possible missions.
Local guard units are not included in the pre-planning for a Pandemic as of this date. It would be extremely helpful for the MN National Guard that county units of government identify their resource shortfalls now so that the MN National Guard (and other state agencies) can tailor a response package that meets those shortfalls. A request for resources may be met (more suitably) by another state agency than perhaps the MN National Guard."
National Guard members who are direct patient care givers (e.g. RNs & physicians) - will they be activated or would the hospitals retain their services?
National Guard members who are direct patient care givers will not be activated by the MN National Guard in our operations for those affected areas/municipalities. We are identifying the civilian employment statistics of our soldiers and airmen (97% complete). Those service-members should not be utilized outside of those specialties. We may need to use those health care providers (soldiers/airmen) from un-affected areas elsewhere in the state.
For counties to have emergency managers, why are they not mandated to have this position be a full time position with all of the planning and grants and preparedness activities it seems that the base foundation of emergency preparedness for each county would be this position. I do not see how one county should be or would want to be less prepared than another or have someone in a multi role position and not give enough attention to Emergency Management in a particular county.
Staffing local emergency management is a local decision.
Does our county emergency management office have the State emergency operations center (EOC) contact information and vice versa? Is this the same contact information as the State Duty officer?
All county emergency management offices have contact information for the Minnesota Duty Officer.
Will communication be direct from the State EOC to county EOCs?
The State EOC will communicate with county EOCs and multi-agency coordination groups.
Have “Basic Services” been defined?
The state of Minnesota is in the process of defining the priority services per the Department of Employee Relation’s guidance document. HSEM has included the priority service definitions within their service continuation document.
Will we implement activities and activate our state EOC only when disease or death occur in MN? Public panic will start much sooner than that if disease/death occur in other states first.
The stages for planning have been changed and MN is currently updating the MEOP supplement to reflect those changes.
Does the state have a plan specific to a jail setting?
The Department of Corrections has developed a robust plan for prisons.
What is the timetable for state agencies providing locals with public preparedness information and materials that are consistent?
The state pandemic funding will support a public education/communication effort and materials will be developed as part of that effort. A variety of materials are currently available and a range of resources that can be targeted to the appropriate audiences are needed.
When do county and city officials have the authority to declare emergency procedures if only certain counties are affected?
Each county board chair and mayor has the authority to declare an emergency.
Does state EOC have capability of communicating with all the county EOC’s at the same time?
We do not currently have that capability, but we do have the capability to participate in video teleconferences.
If a positive HSN bird either domestic or wild is found in Phase 1, will a press release be sent to rural MN or will it be the responsibility of local board of health (BOH) or Department of Natural Resources (DNR) person?
The state will hold a news conference. Notification of the locals will occur before the event.
At which stage will press releases come exclusively from the state?
State government will coordinate public information through a Joint Information Center.
What has been the response from school districts in regards to closing schools in an effort to limit spread of the flu?
Districts have been amenable.
Are public schools engaged in pandemic flu planning?
The Department of Education is working with districts to assist them in developing their plans.
Who are the members of the sub-cabinet, MN Response Phase 3?
Members of the Homeland Security sub-cabinet are the Commissioners of: Public Safety, Health, Agriculture, Commerce, Military Affairs, Pollution Control Agency, and Transportation.
Will the Department of Corrections (DOC) allow jails to create isolation and quarantine wards in the event of illness in the jail?
There are no rules prohibiting this.
The federal government has several check lists and other pandemic planning tools. May we use these for local plans or will MDH or HSEM modify or create other templates for us?
A local organization may use any format or tools that works for them.