March 26, 2003
In this issue:
- State of Minnesota Emergency Operations Center Activated
- Smallpox Vaccination Program Update
- 2004 CDC Bioterrorism Cooperative Agreement Timeline
- Department of Health and Human Services Proposes Smallpox Vaccination Compensation Plan
- Current Smallpox Vaccination Data from State Wide Regional Clinics
- Satellite Conference Offered on Incident Management for Public Health Professionals and Their Community
- New Office of Emergency Preparedness Fact Sheet
- Homeland Security Web Site
- New Guide on Emergency Planning for People with Disabilities
- New Web Resource to Help Schools Plan for Emergencies
- Next Meeting of the Mental Health Subgroup
At 7:00 a.m. on March 20, 2003 Governor Tim Pawlenty activated the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC). The SEOC remained on active status until 8:00 a.m. on Saturday March 22. Staff from the Minnesota Department of Health were present in the EOC, on a 24/7 basis to help coordinate the state’s response to any health-related concerns that may arise during that period.
During the coming days, if you encounter situations or see activity that appears suspicious contact your local law enforcement agency first by calling 911. Also, notify the state duty officer (651-649-5451) in the Twin Cities or 1-800-422-0798 in greater Minnesota.
In a recent conference call with State Health Officials, Tommy Thompson, Secretary
of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) opened the door for states
to consider how they might expand the national smallpox vaccination program.
In response, MDH district office staff hosted regional discussions with local
public health departments and hospitals during the week of March 17. In addition,
the MDH hosted conference calls with Minnesota hospitals that participated
in the Phase I vaccination program. These regional meetings and hospital calls
focused on assessing the results of the Phase I vaccinations in order to determine
gaps that need to be addressed in a more expanded version of the vaccination
program. After the meetings are completed, MDH will analyze input received
and communicate next steps in April.
If you have any questions about the regional meetings, please contact your district public health preparedness consultant.
The Department of Health and Human Services will be sending out guidance for the continuation of the CDC Bioterrorism grant in mid-April. The new funding period will begin on September 1, 2003 and continue through August 31, 2004. MDH will notify community health boards immediately after receiving the guidance and application documents. The CDC has informed MDH that the application for continuation funding must be finished within eight weeks, regardless of when it is received. The estimated date for the application due to the CDC will be approximately mid-June.
Secretary Tommy Thompson recently proposed a plan to create a smallpox vaccination compensation program. This proposal will provide benefits to public health and medical response team members who are injured as a result of receiving the smallpox vaccine. The plan is based on a similar compensation package that is currently available to police officers and firefighters. The DHHS will administer the benefits package if the plan is adopted by Congress and will be retroactive to cover those who already have been vaccinated under the smallpox program. The four elements of the DHHS proposal are explained on the DHHS web site.
The MDH Smallpox website provides the most recent updated smallpox vaccination data. The data is updated on a weekly basis.
Satellite Conference Offered on Incident Management for Public Health Professionals and Their Community
What is the Incident Management System (IMS)? What is the public health role when a biological, chemical, radiological or natural emergency occurs?
Mark your calendars:
Incident Management System Satellite Conference
Wednesday, April 23, 2003
9:00 am to 12:30 pm
The Minnesota Department of Health’s Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP) is sponsoring a 3.5-hour satellite broadcast of the Incident Management System, a model for command, control and coordination of resources for an emergency. This management system organizes personnel, facilities, equipment and communications. Public health professionals and other community members need to understand this well-established system. The satellite broadcast will provide a brief overview of this system.
The Incident Management System is the foundation for Minnesota’s Incident Management System (MIMS), which is used by all state and local emergency management agencies, and the Hospital Emergency Incident Command System (HEICS), which is being implemented by many hospitals around the state.
Please invite public health staff, local boards of health or community health board members, emergency managers, first responders and others in your community to take advantage of this opportunity. Watch for more details about registration in a future e-mail, or check OEP’s Website.
The Office of Emergency Preparedness has developed a new fact sheet on the strategic mission of the OEP.
The US Department of Homeland Security has a website entitled Ready.gov that contains emergency preparedness information for the public. The site addresses issues pertaining to chemical, biological, radiation, and explosions, and other types of health threats. The following link is a good reference source for general emergency preparedness information on the various types of health threats listed.
Following the events of September 11, 2001, the National Organization on Disability (NOD) commissioned a Harris survey, which documented that individuals with disabilities were less prepared for an emergency than other citizens. In 2001, the NOD established the Emergency Preparedness Initiative (EPI), resulting in the publication of the 28-page Guide on the Special Needs of People with Disabilities for Emergency Managers, Planners and Responders.
Emergency management professionals may receive up to three free copies of
the guide. Other requests may include charges for shipping and handling. Requests
should be made to firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax to
In an effort to provide school leaders with more information about emergency preparedness, U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge unveiled a new section on the U.S. Department of Education's Web site: Emergency Planning designed to be a one-stop-shop to help school officials plan for any emergency, including natural disasters, violent incidents and terrorist acts.
In addition to the web site, $30 million is available in FY 2003 to help school districts improve and strengthen emergency response and crisis management plans. Funds could be used to train school personnel, parents and students in crisis response; coordinate with local emergency responders including fire and police; purchase equipment; and coordinate with groups and organizations responsible for recovery issues, such as health and mental-health agencies. An additional $30 million is included in the proposed FY 2004 budget. Applications for this program will be available in early spring 2003. Funding decisions will be made in the summer.
The Mental Health Subgroup of the Commissioner's Task Force on Bioterrorism and Health will meet on Friday, April 11, 2003, 10:30 - 12:30 p.m., MDH Snelling Office Park, 1645 Energy Park Drive, St. Paul, in the Red River Room. The agenda includes a final review of the strategies grid and public health protocol document.