Bioterrorist Attack on Food
This tabletop exercise presents a bioterrorism scenario in the form of an infectious disease outbreak. The incident affects four fictional counties, varying in population size and resources and their respective health departments and local emergency responders. In responding to 22 separate incidents as the outbreak unfolds, participants will discuss policy issues, such as "Who is responsible?" "What information is needed?" "When is public information given out?"
The exercise focuses on identifying the policy issues that need to be considered in responding to a bioterrorist event and will help participants identify the communication, resources, data, coordination, and organizational elements associated with any emergency response. Although the primary goal of this exercise is to address agency-wide policies and issues, it also offers participants an opportunity to assess their own preparedness for responding to the scenario and identify individual needs for information or training.
- Identify and understand policy issues that would arise during a communicable disease outbreak that is potentially the result of a bioterrorist attack
- Understand measures that can be performed at the local level to prepare for a large-scale communicable disease or bioterrorism event
- Promote interagency collaboration/coordination regarding emergency preparation and responsiveness
- Recognize the roles of a variety of public officials in a large-scale communicable disease or bioterrorism incident
- Recognize need for intense teamwork and communication to prepare for a large scale communicable disease or bioterrorism incident
- Identify gaps in local preparedness and ability to coordinate, as well as additional training needs
Identify additional related training/learning needs
Anyone who would be responding to a public health emergency, including hospital administrators and clinicians; public health administrators, nurses, laboratory directors, and environmental health staff; school district administrators; and first responders—emergency medical services, fire safety, law enforcement, and emergency medical technicians.
Estimated Time to Complete
The exercise is designed to be completed in a four-hour session. However, facilitators can conduct it as a one-day exercise by expanding the discussion and debriefing periods.
Issues Participants Will Explore
- How do medical care providers decide when to contact the health officials?
- How do medical care personnel determine who to contact?
- How is the Health Department contacted? (After hours/Non-business day)
- What additional information does the health department need?
- How does the medical care facility address its capacity needs?
- At what point would you engage personnel from non-public health agencies? Who would you include?
- To whom do the medical care providers report their information, particularly if key health department staff cannot be contacted?
- How is information shared between agencies?
- How do agencies respond to news media inquiries?
Support for this project was provided under a cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH).