Track 4: Enhancing Public Health, Healthcare, and Emergency Management Systems
Since January 2019, Washington State has been engaged in response to its largest measles outbreak in over two decades. Over the course of its 8-week activation in response to this outbreak, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) Incident Management Team (IMT) supported and coordinated response activities including epidemiology investigation, laboratory testing, immunization program support, statewide mutual aid, and public information. DOH deployed personnel to provide assistance with operations in the affected area, and successfully requested interstate mutual aid resources through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) and integrated these personnel into the response. Over 220 DOH employees, many of whom had no prior training or experience in the Incident Command System (ICS), were engaged in response activities in three different geographical locations, and several incidents occurred within the incident with significant impacts on response activities.
The purpose of this session is to present an overview of the incident, DOH’s strategic approach as an emergency response organization, and the team’s first impressions of key factors that supported the successful state-level response to this incident. This session will discuss the use of statewide and interstate mutual aid, managing operational activities in multiple locations, the status of response team capability development, proactive approaches to contingency planning, incidents within the incident, and demobilization and return to normal operations.