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This chapter discusses the various components of response to an agricultural emergency, including the incident command structure, resource management, communications, mutual-aid, volunteers, and standard operating guidelines. 3.1 Incident Command System To be NIMS compliant and eligible for federal programs and grants, cities, counties, and other local jurisdictions must have adopted and be trained in the Incident Command System (ICS) outlined in the National Response Framework (NRF). The ICS, outlined in Figure 3-1, includes a command staff with a public information officer, safety officer, and liaison officer, as well as a general staff that includes a planning chief, operations chief, finance and administration chief, and logistics chief. The four sections of the ICS may be subdivided differently depending on the type of emergency, agency resources, or the geographical area encompassed in the response. Using the principle of unified command, each level of response (local, state, and federal) may have its own incident commander and command structure. However, the individuals occupy- ing positions that correspond to others in respective structures should consult with one another to identify and work toward common objectives. In the case of an agroterrorism attack or the outbreak of a highly contagious animal or plant disease, state and federal officials will be made aware of the situation and become involved in the response as soon as the outbreak or attack is confirmed. Although state and federal officials have detailed agricultural response plans and incident command structures, the initial response to an agricultural incident is handled at the local level. Thus, the ability of state and federal governments to successfully contain and eradicate a disease outbreak depends heavily upon the success of local responders in containing the outbreak at its earliest stages. The local incident command staff will handle the incident until state and federal agencies are available for support, at which point, local, state, and federal personnel work in unified command. Unified command can also be used to coordinate the actions of agencies in neigh- boring jurisdictions when the area of infection crosses county lines and independent county emergency response teams have to work together to handle the incident. Local and state emergency response plans may contain chapters or annexes that pertain specifically to agricultural or FAD emergencies. Although some plans may contain detailed, response-specific incident command structures, local agencies should review these plans to verify that responsibility is assigned for all objectives, including traffic control. Many response struc- tures include a transportation group, categorized as part of logistics or planning, responsible for: transporting responders to and from their work sites during their shifts, assisting in evac- uations, or redirecting traffic around a single location. However, in the event of a quarantine, 9 C H A P T E R 3 Components of Agricultural Emergency Response
the transportation-related responsibilities may expand considerably, and will most likely exceed the capabilities of one group. In a typical ICS, the Operations Section is assigned responsibility for all activities focused on reducing the immediate hazard, saving human life and property, establishing situational con- trol, and restoring normal operations. Traffic control around a quarantine boundary fits directly into the responsibilities of the Operations Section. The structure of the Operations Section can be based on jurisdictional boundaries, operational considerations, or a combination of both. Further division of the Operations Section may vary, depending on the type of emergency. Figure 3-2 shows an example of how the Operations Section might be organized in the event of an FAD outbreak. In this example, transportation responsi- bilities are divided between groups in all three branches. Each branch within the Operations Section would be managed by one person, who would report to the Operations Section Chief, and each group within a branch would be led by one person, who would report to the Branch Manager. In following the principles of the ICS as described in the NIMS, each person reports to only one person, with no more than three to seven people reporting to any one person. The division of responsibilities illustrated in Figure 3-2 is intended to meet the specific objec- tives of FAD containment and includes disease control, traffic control, and quarantine enforce- ment. Each group has several sub-objectives, each of which is managed by a group dedicated to that task. The tasks managed by the Disease Control Branch might include the following: â¢ Receiving and holding livestock that cannot enter the quarantine area and cannot be sent elsewhere; â¢ Cleaning and disinfecting vehicles, equipment, animals, and people leaving the quarantine area; and â¢ Euthanizing and disposing of diseased or exposed animals and agricultural products (such as milk). The Traffic Control Branch might be tasked with the following: â¢ Planning detours; â¢ Monitoring traffic queues; 10 A Guide to Traffic Control of Rural Roads in an Agricultural Emergency Figure 3-1. Basic incident command system.
â¢ Supplying, installing, and maintaining signs, barricades, flashing lights, and other traffic control devices; and â¢ Maintaining the road surface of detour routes to ensure that critical paths remain open and usable. The Quarantine Enforcement Branch would be responsible for enforcing movement restrictions, which might include the following: â¢ Staffing traffic check-points, â¢ Inspecting vehicles, and â¢ Providing surveillance of the quarantine boundary. The Disease Control Branch will most likely be staffed with state-level responders, such as vet- erinarians and Department of Agriculture personnel, who are familiar with specific diseases and with their control and management. However, in many cases, local staff will be needed to iden- tify locations to house diverted animals and assist in cleaning and disinfection tasks. The county engineer, county public works director, or a state DOT area engineer who is familiar with the roads in the area could lead the Traffic Control Branch, which is usually staffed with a combina- tion of local public works and state DOT maintenance crews. The Enforcement Branch may be led by the local sheriff and supported by state police and the National Guard. All three branches will most likely be supported by volunteers, so training before and during the emergency will be necessary. Components of Agricultural Emergency Response 11 Figure 3-2. Organization of Operation Section for foreign animal disease response.
During emergency planning and before a specific incident ever occurs, there are tasks that should be considered by representatives of the Operations Section. While the specific nature and location of a disease outbreak cannot be known in advance, gathering and maintaining infor- mation on routes can increase the efficiency of detour planning when it is needed. Types of infor- mation that may be useful in detour planning include the following: â¢ Approximate Average Daily Traffic (ADT) volumes on country roads; â¢ Percentage of heavy trucks on roads in the county, which may help in determining the abil- ity of local roads being considered for use as detour routes to handle excessive heavy truck traffic; â¢ Allowable loads for bridges and for bridge height and width restrictions; â¢ Identification of agricultural routes [to and from the countyâs big producers, where livestock or livestock products (e.g., milk) are frequently delivered or picked up]; â¢ Location of hospitals, schools, community centers, grocery stores, and other places that require open routes; â¢ Roadway characteristics that help determine the types of vehicles that can safely use the route as a detour are width, presence of shoulders, and pavement quality; â¢ Proximity to agricultural producers (routes close to potentially infected animals or animals susceptible to disease are less desirable for use as detours); and â¢ Locations of all producers in the county (from hobby farmers/ranchers to major producers). Planning detours, identifying animal and vehicle holding areas, and prioritizing road blocks, disinfection stations, and traffic checkpoints can all be done in the planning stages with coordi- nation of law enforcement officers, DOT and county public works officials, and animal and human health specialists. While certain elements of the plan may need to be changed to accom- modate the circumstances of a specific emergency, general plans can be made ahead of time so that they can be put into action right away. 3.2 Resource Management One of the challenges of emergency response in rural areas is limited resources and work- ers. Although these areas often have a great deal of human capital, they tend to lack material and financial resources. In small, close-knit communities, local responders are likely to have personal relationships with their community members, making borrowing private resources for the response effort easier. Local farmers/ranchers and shops may have a variety of useful items on hand, including hay bales, gates, fencing, earth-moving equipment, tarps, basins, tubs, disinfectants, and appropriate safety equipment such as rubber gloves. Smaller commu- nities are also more likely to provide emergency volunteers with meals, accommodations, and clothing. As part of the planning process for incidents, a list of potential local resources to use for traffic control should be compiled. Standard resources, such as detour signs, cones, barricades, barrels, and changeable message signs are important. Table 3-1 shows an example of a resource list cre- ated in the planning process. In addition to identifying local resources, the county may need to consider other ways to fill resource gaps, such as through emergency assistance compacts with other counties or cities, grants for equipment or supplies, or other means. A plan should be established for locating resources needed to establish safe and effective traffic control around a 3- to 6-mi (5- to 10-km) quarantine radius. Information on the availability of the resources should also be assembled and maintained. The information compiled should include the location and quantity of supplies, equipment, 12 A Guide to Traffic Control of Rural Roads in an Agricultural Emergency
signs, vehicles, and other resources, as well as contact information and instructions for obtaining the resources. Table 3-2 demonstrates a method for tracking available resources. A separate sheet may be developed and maintained for each resource agency or owner. Resource agencies or owners might include state DOT maintenance facilities, county main- tenance facilities, utility companies, highway contractors, and any other local business or agency with signs, vehicles with flashing lights, sign installation equipment, variable message boards, or barricades. Components of Agricultural Emergency Response 13 Table 3-1. Typical resources list created in planning process for agricultural emergency response. tnempiuqE snoitacinummoC selciheV sngiS road closed signs police cruisers radios detour signs contractor trucks with lights spare batteries congestion ahead signs utility trucks with lights stop/slow paddles electronic message signs DOT/public works trucks with lights storefront marquee signs dump trucks biohazard signs front loaders arrow boards vans or buses tnempiuqE ytefaS sedacirraB standard barricade signs reflective vests seralf slerrab/senoc seirettab ,sthgilhsalf selab yah orange construction fencing reflective paint portable gates reflective tape tnempiuqe evitcetorp lanosrep (as required by OSHA standards) Table 3-2. Example of a traffic control resource list. County: Johnson Date: 7/1/2006 Owner: Springfield State DOT ytitnauQ metI Maintenance Building Signs Contact 02 potS Name: 5 daeha potS ,senoJ miJ 01 desolc daoR rosivrepuS ecnanetniaM Phone 02 ruoteD Numbers: 02 sworrA 0987-654-321 :eciffO Cell: 123-456-0987 US / State route number signs various suoirav sngis eman daoR 9807-654-321 :mp 4 retfA 05 stsop ngiS 1 niaM :.oN llaC oidaR Address: sngis drazahoiB .R daoR ytnuoC 111 2 sngis egassem elbairaV sdraob egassem STI Additional srehsalF dekcol era srood gnidliub fI Information: and maintenance staff is Barricades sedacirrab elbatroP si yek artxe ,elbaliavanu 01 setaG fo rood edisni detacol selab yaH .dehs tsew Vehicles sresiurc eciloP rosivrepus ecnanetniaM keeps all vehicle keys Trucks with sign capacity, installation equipment 2 locked after hours. If Trucks with towing/hauling capacity 2 needed, call cell or after Other vehicles with flashers/rotating 2 hours number. lights Maps xob 1 spam daor etatS spam daor ytnuoC spam ytreporP spam esu-dnaL
3.3 Communications Many existing LEOPs contain communications plans for emergency response. In planning a response to an agricultural emergency, it is important to consider communications at and between traffic control points. While law enforcement officials will most likely be equipped to communicate with each other, others involved in setting up traffic control and working at traffic checkpoints will need to be able to communicate with the each other, as well as with the emer- gency operations center. For example, the Traffic Monitoring Group might need to notify the Traffic Control Device Group that because of a long traffic queue forming at a checkpoint, the warning or detour signs should be moved further upstream. When planning for communication capabilities, the chain of command should also be con- sidered. Each responder should be able to communicate with his or her immediate supervisor. In a unified command, responders from different agencies in parallel positions should be able to communicate with each other. For example, the public information officer (PIO) from the state Department of Agriculture should be able to communicate with the PIO from the county as well as the PIOs at USDA, FEMA, and SEMA. Arrangements for open communication may include maintaining up-to-date, published phone lists that are available to all responders, equipping all response vehicles with cell phones and two-way radios, or simply establishing regular meetings with group members and the group leader when other means of communication are unavailable. Communication with the public is an essential part of both safe and efficient traffic control as well as effective and successful emergency response. The PIO must work with the Operations Sec- tion chief and the branch managers to keep the public informed of road closures, traffic check- points, and movement restrictions for livestock. Providing accurate and timely information can increase voluntary compliance and reduce confusion due to unexpected changes in traffic control. Helping drivers plan their trips in advance by providing reliable and up-to-date information can reduce delay and help contain the animal or plant disease. 3.4 Emergency Management Assistance Compacts Because rural counties may have limited staffing and resources, emergency management assis- tance compacts with the private sector and with surrounding jurisdictions are often critical. Planning efforts with neighboring counties is also critical, since quarantine areas may cross county boundaries. It is important to establish compacts between agencies in the planning stages so that when an emergency occurs, means of sharing resources are already in place. It may be helpful for counties to form compacts with counties that do not share a border because a foreign animal disease may spread to neighboring counties, which would eliminate their ability to spare resources. Formal emergency management assistance compacts are typically developed jointly and signed by all community partners; such agreements describe the specific aid that will be pro- vided or shared between jurisdictions and how the agencies that provide aid will be compen- sated. Many communities have existing compacts between law enforcement agencies, since mutual-aid is an important part of NIMS. These agreements can be kept as annexes to the LEOP so that they are easily accessible in an emergency. Beyond the traditional agreements between law enforcement agencies, agreements between public works and highway departments can also be helpful for emergencies that require extensive traffic control. Private owners of resources, such as contractors, utility companies, and others who may be able to provide vehicles, manpower, barricades, and signs can also be involved in aid agreements. Making arrangements for the use of these resources and establishing a structure for reimbursement before an emergency occurs may mean that more resources are available at the earliest critical stages of the response. 14 A Guide to Traffic Control of Rural Roads in an Agricultural Emergency
3.5 Volunteers Volunteers may help to fill emergency response roles that cannot be filled by regular employees, and in many rural areas, emergency response is led by volunteer organizations, such as a volun- teer fire department. Protocols for how to coordinate and organize volunteer efforts are often described in emergency response plans, but in the case of a foreign animal or plant disease, spe- cial care must be taken to ensure volunteers are properly disinfected when entering or exiting their work site. This is especially true if the volunteers are at disinfection stations, or are handling livestock or agricultural equipment and vehicles. Volunteers should be trained on general biose- curity practices during the planning stage, prior to the occurrence of an incident. In addition to general biosafety training, volunteers should be briefed on incident-specific biosecurity require- ments as soon as they are called to respond to an emergency. A brief section on simple biosecurity practices is included at the end of this guide. 3.6 Standard Operating Guidelines The Standard Operating Guidelines (SOG) for law enforcement officials in a quarantine situ- ation are often unclear because many jurisdictions do not have specific guidelines on the methods officers may use to enforce a quarantine. For instance, no procedure may exist to dictate how law enforcement handles the containment of an animal or plant disease that poses no direct health threat to humans. Because quarantines and other movement restrictions are rare, precedents or written policies usually do not exist to guide the officersâ actions. Between the time a disease is suspected and when it is confirmed, the situation becomes even more complicated, since no threat may even exist. It is important for local law enforcement agencies to understand the authority structure in their state for issuing quarantines and movement restrictions and to develop guidelines for appropriate rules of engagement. Components of Agricultural Emergency Response 15