In this issue:
- MDH Emergency Preparedness Capacity Building
- MDH Nuclear Power Plant Response Exercise
- MDH Provides Radiation Training To Local Public Health
- Radiological, Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Preparedness Information
- Information and Communication Technology Training
- Isolation And Quarantine Legal Issues
- SARS Training Opportunity
- Public Health Emergency Preparedness Fact Sheet
- Metro Region Update
- West Central Region Update
The MDH Environmental Health Division is integrating emergency preparedness training into its health and safety program for staff. As part of this effort, a team of MDH environmental health staff, led by Patricia Bloomgren, is traveling to MDH District offices to present sessions on three important emergency preparedness topics. These topics include basic information regarding clandestine drug labs, chemical terrorism and radiological terrorism. Training visits the week of October 6 include Duluth, St. Cloud and Mankato.
After completing these trainings, MDH Environmental Health staff will work with local public health, environmental health and other staff to determine if these trainings would be useful at a local or regional level.
The Minnesota Department of Health will play a major public health protection role in the response to any nuclear power plant accident. During an emergency event, the MDH Environmental Health Division provides staff, including two field technical advisors, three people for the operations function and the Office of Communications provides a public information officer for the planning and assessment center located in the State Emergency Operations Center.
In order to test the state's nuclear emergency response capability, the Federal
Emergency Management Agency, (FEMA) routinely conducts training and drills.
The drill and exercises test Minnesota's ability to respond to an accidental
release of radioactive material, conduct long-term exposure assessments, determine
exposures from various ingestion pathways, make appropriate protective action
recommendations, and to implement the actions necessary to protect the public’s
health and safety.
The drill portion, which is a test of the emergency response capability, will be held in October and the exercise portion, which is the FEMA evaluation of Minnesota's emergency response for the Monticello Power Plant, will be the following month.
In addition to the state and county participants, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Federal Department of Energy (DOE) will provide personnel. DOE is bringing their mobile laboratory, and a helicopter and a fixed-wing aircraft with radiation detection equipment. Aircraft would play an important role in tracking any radioactive plume during a real emergency.
Patricia Bloomgren, MDH Environmental Health Division Director will again be the Assistant State Incident Manager (SIM). Pat will be actively involved in the establishment of protective action recommendations based on the data generated in the Planning and Assessment Center.
The MDH Environmental Health and Community Health Divisions organized and held a radiation training session on September 23, 2003 in St. Cloud for local public health and other staff. The agenda covered a variety of topics from basic radiation principles to an overview of the nuclear power plant emergency preparedness program. The impetus for holding this training was initiated by the interest that local public health and other agencies beyond the 10-mile emergency planning zone (EPZ) have in the emergency planning process for a nuclear power plant. Approximately 50 people attended.
The Rand Corporation issued preparedness information entitled: "Individual Preparedness And Response To Chemical, Radiological, Nuclear, And Biological Terrorist Attacks: A Quick Guide (PDF: 35 pages)" by Lynn E. Davis, Tom LaTourrette, David E. Mosher, Lois M. Davis, David R. Howell, Rand Corporation. 2003 and supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
The following link will provide individuals with information about how to respond in biological, chemical, radiological or nuclear events. The response guide also provides practical information for government agencies and businesses.
Sign up is now open for the fourth event in the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality sponsored series of five Web-assisted audio conferences. This event, The Role of Information/Communication Technology and Monitoring/Surveillance Systems in Bioterrorism Preparedness, is scheduled for Tuesday, October 21, 2003 from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
The training the covers the importance of having information and communication systems in place to effectively and rapidly respond to a bioterrorist event. Specifically, panelists on this call will:
Examine the role of information technology in improving syndromic surveillance and decision making;
Highlight and describe a number of relatively new surveillance systems and the valuable information they can provide to public health officials, health systems decision makers, and providers; and
Discuss strategies for better coordinating the functions, uses, and activities associated with the growing number of systems and organizations involved in public health surveillance.
Wendy Willson Legge, MDH Legal Counsel will be giving a presentation entitled, Legal Authority for Isolation and Quarantine at the International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA) 68th Annual Conference. Ms. Legge’s presentation is part of Work Session V: Managing Emerging Public Health Issues, on Monday, Oct. 13th, from 2:00-3:30.
This conference is intended for practicing attorney’s who are members of the International Municipal Lawyers Association. Please forward this notice to your county or city attorney.
The CDC presented two Web broadcast training programs on SARS for health care workers and key state and local public health personnel on September 23, and September 30, 2003. The programs provided updated information on identifying and managing patients with SARS and preventing transmission of the disease in healthcare facilities and the community. These programs were offered in anticipation of possible seasonal reemergence of SARS.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a new fact sheet – Transforming America's Capacity to Respond – that provides detailed information about the National Public Health Emergency Preparedness program.
The fact sheet includes information on:
Public Health Capacity
Workforce And Back-Up Capacity
Planning And Direction
The fact sheet provides an important perspective on how much has been accomplished
in emergency preparedness in a relatively short period of time.
The City of Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support initiated an ambitious work plan to engage community-based organizations in preparedness planning to serve vulnerable populations within the city and Hennepin County. Two VISTA volunteers will complete the work plan over the course of three years with oversight from city staff.
The plan includes four main goals:
Goal 1: Identify and engage potential organizations serving vulnerable and multicultural populations, in order to create a comprehensive database and implement planning and training programs for emergency preparedness.
Goal 2: Increase the ability of agencies providing services to vulnerable and multicultural populations to survive an emergency and continue to serve their clients. This will be accomplished via on-going training, plan development, staff preparedness, and communication among agencies.
Goal 3: Establish an emergency preparedness model and tools for agencies serving the multicultural and vulnerable, which can be replicated or expanded to include the entire Twin City metropolitan area. This model may replicate efforts in California known as Community Agencies Responding to Disaster (CARD).
Goal 4: Establish a system to ensure continued
implementation and measurement of successful execution that includes annual
training and drills, inter-agency coordination, collaboration, and communication.
A desired end product is an umbrella organization to host these networked agencies
and offer limited ongoing staff and financial support for their efforts.
Much of the work plan is applicable statewide and is adaptable to all types of vulnerable populations, however defined. In addition to this effort, integrated planning for programs such as receipt of the Strategic National Stockpile and partnerships with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) professionals will further efforts to reach vulnerable populations and the agencies that serve them.
Douglas County Bioterrorism Table Top Exercise
Douglas County conducted a countywide tabletop exercise on September 23, 2003. The exercise goals were to:
1. Increase awareness about the combination of factors unique to bioterrorism
this included communicable diseases, exposed response personnel, dual epidemiology
and law enforcement investigations
2. Assess plans for information sharing including communication and information flow within and among response agencies
3. Evaluate existing response plans to determine their adequacy and identify deficiencies
4. Illustrate local, state and federal roles and responsibilities
5. Establish closer working relationships with partnering agencies
The scenario consisted of a local physician traveling back to Douglas County from a foreign country, who becomes extremely ill on the way home. While being treated the physician exposes many people to the unexplained illness in the clinic and hospital. Because an ambulance service was used in the event, a local school volleyball tournament crowd is also exposed to the illness.
The tabletop focused on four evaluation functions:
3. Command and Control
4. Safety and Security
Event participants included over sixty people representing: hospitals clinics, county attorneys, law enforcement, physicians, public health, Red Cross, Salvation Army, EMS system, firefighters, mayors, commissioners, HAM radio, veterinarians, local Industry, ministerial, media, social Services, National Guard, schools, public works, and MDH.