In this issue:
- MDH Submits CDC 2004 – 05 Bioterrorism Grant Application
- Bioterrorism Hospital Preparedness Program 2004-2005 Funding
- Commissioner’s Terrorism and Health Task Force Convenes
- MDH Participates in State Agency Terrorism Exercise
- EPA Offers Emergency Response Planning Workshop for Small and Medium Drinking Water Utilities
- Resources to check out
On July 29, 2004, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) submitted an application to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the 2004-05 Public Health Preparedness and Response for Bioterrorism grant. Funds available for this year’s grant total $13,991,780, which represents an overall cut of 20% from the previous year’s grant. MDH will award $6,360,000 of the total to local public health agencies and Tribes. This amount represents a cut of 15% from last year’s funding. MDH will retain $7,631,780 to fund preparedness efforts, a cut of 22% from last year’s funding.
The CDC will also award $710,000 to Minnesota for the Cities Readiness Initiative -- a pilot program that will develop plans for an accelerated distribution of Strategic National Stockpile assets to the nation’s largest metropolitan areas. MDH will retain approximately $25,000 of those funds, with the balance being directed to Twin Cities Metropolitan Area cities and counties.
The CDC is in the process of reviewing the grant application. Funds are expected to be available September 1, 2004.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) submitted an application to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) on July 1, 2004for the2004 – 2005 Bioterrorism Hospital Preparedness Program Grant. MDH expects to receive $8.5 million from the grant during this current fiscal year. This is the same amount of funding that was received last year. About 80% of the funds will directly support hospital preparedness activities across the state.
Additionally, a one time supplemental 10-month grant of $200,000 was received from HRSA to jump-start a new initiative called the Emergency System for the Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals (ESAR-VHP). Under this new initiative, Minnesota was chosen as one of 10 pilot states to assist HRSA in the development of national procedures and guidelines. This funding initiative will be used to expand MN Responds!, a database of healthcare volunteers that is currently in development.
MDH expects funds to be available on September 1, 2004.
For more information, contact:
- Pat Tommet, BHPP Coordinator at 651-215-8830
- Emily Litt, BHPP Planner at 651-284-3831
- Megan Thompson, BHPP Specialist at 651-281-9837
The Commissioner’s Terrorism and Health Task Force convened on August 10, 2004. Members provided Assistant Commissioner Aggie Leitheiser with advice and feedback on proposed changes to the Minnesota Emergency Health Powers Act. Cheryl Peterson-Kroeber from the Minnesota Department of Health, Office of Emergency Preparedness, gave an overview of the Minnesota Emergency Preparedness Education and Training Plan.Future meetings will feature “best practices” presentations from Task Force members who are actively involved in preparedness planning. The next meeting is scheduled for October 25, 2004 from 1:00 – 3:30 pm at the MDH Snelling Office Park in St. Paul. Interested parties are welcome to attend.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), along with 10 other state agencies, participated in a State Agency Terrorism Exercise this summer. The Exercise began with a tabletop that was held June 29 – 30, 2004. The functional exercise was held August 24 – 26.
This was the first State Agency Terrorism Exercise of its kind in Minnesota. The goal was to further define, test, and enhance the incident management capabilities of the 10 agencies.
The Exercise tested the response of state agencies to a mock act of bioterrorism. The agencies were required to:
- Utilize their inter/intra-agency emergency communications and coordinate protocols.
- Identify state agency resources needed to respond to and recover from a terrorist incident.
The tabletop was held at the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC). Participants were given a functional role to play at the various tables, representing Incident Command, Operations and Planning.
During the functional exercise, the MDH tested certain capabilities at the Emergency Communication Center (ECC), located at 717 Delaware in Minneapolis. The goals for MDH were to:
- Test MDH notification of an event by duty officer.
- Test communication between MDH, State Emergency Operations Center and other state agencies.
- Test internal MDH initial notification and public health emergency response activation systems.
- Test MDH Health Alert Network auto-dialing system.
- Test coordination and communication system for sharing of information for SEOP/JPIC (Joint Public Information Center) messages.
- Test the use of incident command in ECC.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) will prepare a post-exercise report for in-house distribution, as mandated by federal guidelines.
EPA Offers Emergency Response Planning Workshop on September 8, 2004 for Small and Medium Drinking Water Utilities
The Environmental Protection Agency is offering a free, one-day workshop to educate small and medium-sized water utilities about how they can comply with the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002.
That Act requires that drinking water utilities serving more than 3,300 people need to update or revise their Emergency Response Plans (ERP). The update should consider the various types of incidents that could occur as a result of malevolent acts (e.g., intentional contamination of water supplies, cyber attacks, physical assaults, intentional release of hazardous chemicals, etc.). The update should also address risks discovered during the utility's Vulnerability Assessment that was mandated under the same Act.
While the deadline has passed for large utilities (>100,000 customers) to submit their certification of ERP update to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the medium sized (50,000-100,000 customers) and small systems (3,300 to 50,000 customers) are currently within their update periods.
The workshop will include a discussion of the regulatory requirements to update the Emergency Response Plans and a review of the EPA's official guidance for the ERP development and upgrades. The course will also provide a comprehensive review of the EPA's recently released Response Protocol Toolbox: Planning for and Responding to Contamination Threats to Drinking Water Systems. The Toolbox provides detailed guidance for the utility's response to a threat, or actual incident of intentional contamination of a public water system. Additionally, the workshop will offer a description of some of the other tools the EPA is providing to assist with utility security concerns. These include the Laboratory Compendium that is designed to assist utilities in selection of laboratories for analysis of emergency response samples and EPA's Water and Wastewater Security Product Guide.
The Behavioral Health Response to Disasters includes a 2-hour videotape of a satellite conference and a list of reference materials. The speaker was April J. Naturale, Former Statewide Director of Project Liberty in New York City following the events of 9/11. The presentation included a discussion of the Incident Command System utilized by Emergency Response Organizations, and described where behavioral health fits. The second segment detailed the Crisis Counseling Training and Assistance program.
To borrow the video, contact the MDH Library at 612-676-5090 or e-mail a request to email@example.com. Produced by the Alabama Department of Public Health.
New Program-- NTPI’s presents “CoMNET”
The National Terrorism Preparedness Institute is sponsoring CoMNET, a recurring bi-monthly videotaped satellite broadcast that offers Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) related awareness information to the nation’s civilian and military emergency response communities.
The primary target audience includes federal, state and local law enforcement, fire service, emergency medical services (EMS), emergency management, and public works. Secondary audiences for this program include federal, state, and local police academies, university police, military police/security units, military emergency preparedness officials, National Guard Civil Support Teams, sheriff’s offices and public health officials.
On Wednesday, August 25, 2004, NTPI sponsored a satellite conference that addressed:
- Coordinating the development of plans, procedures and protocols
- Developing mutual aid protocols
- Recognize types of agents
- Understanding the use and capability of detection equipment
The MDH Distance Communication and Learning Center prepared a videotape of the satellite conference. To borrow the video, contact the MDH Library at 612-676-5090 or e-mail a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark your calendars ! The next CoMNET program will be on Wednesday, October 27, 2004. Feature stories include:
- Emergency Patient Care
- Integrating Activities of SWAT, EOD & HazMat
- Operation of diagnostic equipment
- Recognizing types of agents
For more information go to CoMNET.
8" x 11" Poster : Minnesota's Homeland Security Team is 5 million Strong – and You’re on It! Prepare yourself and Your Family Before Disaster Strikes. (PDF: 1 page) Source: Minnesota Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
Public Health Training Website This web site provides frontline public health workers with convenient access to educational products that can improve current skills and help achieve the competencies required to effectively respond to present and emerging health threats, including the threat of bioterrorism. Source: North Carolina Center for Public Health Preparedness, UNC School of Public Health: NCCPHP and partners deliver influenza surveillance workshops in Russia and Ethiopia.
Online training opportunity
Incident Management System: The Public Health Role
This site includes a one-hour session that covers an Introduction, How IMS Works, Command Staff and General Staff. Source: University of Minnesota, Center for Public Health Preparedness.