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In recent years, new concerns have arisen about the vulnerability of U.S. agriculture to the delib- erate introduction of foreign animal and plant diseases, referred to as agroterrorism. Several of the national planning scenarios outlined in the Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-8, National Preparedness (1), call on transportation agencies to prepare for their roles in the National Incident Management System (NIMS), (2) which provides âa consistent nationwide approach for federal, state, tribal, and local governments to work effectively and efficiently together to prepare for, prevent, respond to, and recover from domestic incidents, regardless of cause, size, or complexity.â Responding to agroterrorism or other natural or accidental biological outbreaks of foreign animal or plant diseases, collectively referred to as âagricultural emergenciesâ for the purpose of this guide, could require immediate isolation and/or quarantine of potentially infected areas. Research indicates that the economic impact of the outbreak is a function of the time it takes to enforce quarantine and eradicate or control the infection. Therefore, it is essential that local responders have the tools and resources needed to implement a response within the first few hours of notification. In the event of an animal disease outbreak, a quarantine boundary may enclose an area with a 3- to 6-mi (5- to 10-km) radius that could cross more than 30 roads and could be enforced for several months. While federal support for longer-term assistance may arrive in a few days, containment of the disease agent requires an effective, complete, and locally implemented response within hours. The purpose of quarantines is to isolate a disease and to stop the spread of the organisms that cause the disease. Citizens of rural counties are accustomed to free movement, full access, and unrestricted freight movement; however, in a foreign animal or plant disease emergency, biose- curity must take precedence over normal rural transportation needs. The area to be quarantined will be determined based on the disease, the local environment, and the location of other sus- ceptible plants or animals. Other conditions such as weather, wind direction, and the methods that are available to combat the diseaseâs spread will be considered as well. Rural law enforcement agencies are unlikely to have the ability to control vehicle movement at all of the entrances and exits around a quarantine boundary at one time, and rural public works departments or local DOT offices will most likely only have enough signs and barricades on-hand to detour one or two roads in a county. Thus, more innovative methods are needed that can be implemented in partnership with law enforcement, military (Active, Reserve, and Guard), the private sector, transportation agencies, and other organizations at the local and state levels. 1.1 History of Agroterrorism in the United States While the United States has experienced intentional attacks on its food supply, such as the intentional placement of salmonella in salad bars in Oregon in 1984, all of the incidents 1 C H A P T E R 1 Introduction
involving foreign animal and plant diseases have occurred accidentally or naturally, and they include the spread of the following: Exotic Newcastle Disease (END) in California and Nevada in 2002; Avian Influenza in Texas, Delaware, New Jersey, and Maryland in 2004; Citrus Canker in Florida, detected in 1995 and currently still not eradicated; and Soybean Rust in the South since 2004. The distinction between intentional, natural, and accidental infections is relevant to the response plan in two ways. First, a coordinated intentional attack is likely to stretch the resources of the federal and state governments and to place more responsibility on local gov- ernments to contain and control the outbreak with limited outside help. Second, an intentional attack would require that some law enforcement resources be dedicated to the criminal investi- gation instead of to the emergency response. When Tommy Thompson stepped down as Secretary of Health and Human services in 2004, he expressed concern over the vulnerability of the United Statesâ food supply. Thompson said, âI, for the life of me, cannot understand why the terrorists have not, you know, attacked our food supply because it is so easy to doâ (3). His statement raised alarm and increased focus on pro- tecting the countryâs food supply. 1.2 Purpose of the Guide The purpose of this guide is to aid rural law enforcement and emergency responders in handling traffic control during an agricultural emergency. While local responders may rely on existing Emergency Operations Plans for guidance in implementing general aspects of the response, traffic control is rarely covered specifically in these plans. This guide should fill this gap and supple- ment existing local emergency response plans. In addition, this guide identifies the role of local and state highway agencies in emergency traf- fic control planning and implementation. For instance, many existing emergency response plans leave traffic control solely up to law enforcement officials. Although this may be appropriate in some emergency situations, a rural law enforcement agency will most likely lack the expertise, manpower, and traffic control resources needed to establish and enforce quarantine boundaries. Therefore, county and municipal public works departments, along with local or regional state DOT construction, traffic, and maintenance staff, should be involved in both the planning and implementation of a successful traffic control plan for use in a quarantine or stop movement scenario. This guide will outline the roles of public works and law enforcement and address the need for communication and coordination before and during a response. Because such incredible variation of legal guidelines, resources, and priorities exists between most districts, this guide is not intended to be prescriptive in nature. Instead, it presents a frame- work that focuses on both planning and implementation, emphasizing the importance of inte- grating transportation response guidelines into existing emergency response plans. 1.3 Organization of the Guide This guide describes the necessary elements of both planning and implementing emergency traffic control and provides suggestions for and examples of traffic control at checkpoints and roadblocks. Chapter 2 describes the three phases of the traffic control response to an agricultural emergency, including pre-incident planning, temporary traffic control around the immediate vicinity of the suspected infection, and long-term traffic control around an established quarantine boundary. These phases relate to traffic control in an agricultural emergency and are similar, but not identi- cal, to the NIMS stages of prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery. Phase 1 is part of 2 A Guide to Traffic Control of Rural Roads in an Agricultural Emergency
preparedness and includes planning for traffic control activities that will be required. Response is covered in Phases 2 and 3 and includes initial and long-term traffic control activities. The NIMS stages of prevention and recovery are not covered in this guide. Chapter 3 discusses command structure and the place of traffic control within existing struc- tures. Issues addressed in this chapter include the following: â¢ Stakeholders, responsibilities, and authority; â¢ Potential modifications to existing command structures; â¢ Communication plans; â¢ Mutual-aid; â¢ Standard operating guidelines; â¢ Resource needs and availability; â¢ Resource management, ownership, mobility, and sharing agreements. Chapter 4 discusses the issue of traffic control at an established quarantine boundary. It describes the process for prioritizing road closures and traffic checkpoints and determining the appropriate levels of traffic control at each point. This chapter also contains illustrations of traf- fic control layouts for different levels of control. Chapter 5 concludes the guide by emphasizing the need for planning and flexibility and pro- vides a list of helpful biosecurity measures for responders. This chapter also provides additional background information on agroterrorism, foreign plant and animal diseases, emergency man- agement training, and national emergency preparedness and response documents. Appendix A provides information on the policy background of agroterrorism. Appendix B explains terminology used throughout the guide. 1.4 Foreign Plant Diseases and Foreign Animal Diseases Agricultural emergencies can involve either foreign plant diseases or foreign animal diseases (FAD). Symptoms of both of these types of diseases would normally be seen first by producers. While a veterinarian would normally be called in the case of an animal disease, it is more likely that the county extension agent would be asked to diagnose a plant disease. In most cases, traffic control would be the most challenging when dealing with FADs, and therefore, most of the examples used in this guide are related to FADs such as foot-and-mouth disease. Introduction 3