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HAZMAT: Could it Happen to You?

This update includes a debrief on a hazardous materials tabletop that recently took place at a zoo including links to resources and materials that can assist other facilities concerned about that threat.   Information for free virtual trainings from the office of bombing protection, links to archival copies of NOAA’s 2017 Hurricane Awareness webinar series, and information on how to participate in a survey of preparedness in our industry currently being conducted by graduate students at the University of Chicago’s Threat and Response Management Program is also included.    HAZMAT:  Could it Happen to You? Rail lines, natural gas, and oil pipelines zigzag across this country.  Semi tankers carry millions of gallons of hazardous materials on our roadways daily.  If there should be a spill at a nearby rail yard, or a ruptured pipeline adjacent to your facility, are you prepared?  To evaluate their preparedness plans for just such an emergency, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium (OHDZA) teamed up with the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to develop and host “HAZMAT at the Zoo”.  Spearheaded by the Zoo’s security team and veterinary departments, experienced exercise developers with NEMA drafted a realistic mass casualty/mass fatality based scenario for the facility.   The tabletop exercise simulated a toxic chemical leak at a rail yard adjacent to the Zoo on a crowded Saturday, with a resulting chemical cloud covering portions of the zoo and impacting staff, volunteers, visitors, and collections.  Exercise objectives tested Operational Communications, Coordination, Public Information and Warning, and more using the Incident Command System (ICS). The exercise was highly successful, and the zoo and responders both came away with ideas to improve their plans for HAZMAT events at the zoo.   The scenario included a wide range of representation from emergency response agencies and the zoological community, with final numbers exceeding 90 people!  The guest list included zoo staff, city and county first responders, state and federal agencies, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad, and 3 other zoological facilities in the area.  While those facilities were not affected by the ‘virtual spill’, this represented a great opportunity to collaborate and share information across the industry, giving participants the ability to return to their own institution and develop or improve their own plan. Despite the robust attendance list, participants were still able to identify additional agencies they may need to connect with in this type of incident, such as local hospitals and the county coroner. Another area of improvement identified, was to provide examples of similar incidents and their response for future exercises.   Please see below for resources that may help you assess HAZMAT risks at your facility and prepare for a potential incident.  If you are thinking of developing your own tabletop exercise and would like more information, please email Ashley at the ZAHP Fusion Center who can provide you with additional resources as well as contact information for the OHDZA.   Resources: Maps North American HAZMAT Situations and Deployments: http://hazmat.globalincidentmap.com/home.php Energy Information Administration Maps ( includes layers for crude […]


2017 Safety Summit Recap, Hurricane Season Information, and More

This update includes a valuable debrief from the 2017 Safety Summit, information regarding the upcoming hurricane season, and more.   In this update: Hurricane season information 2017 Safety Summit debrief including: Introduction to  Infrastructure Protection programs from the department of homeland security Summit presentations Sample drill reporting documents from zoos and aquariums Cybersecurity 2017 Community Guidelines to Prevent Pandemic Influenza (report)     Hurricane Season 2017 The Atlantic hurricane season will officially start on June 1st, meaning there is no better time than the present to make sure your facility is prepared.  The projected forecast  for the Atlantic hurricane season is less active than the 2016 season, with a total of 12 named storms, six (6) hurricanes, and two (2) major hurricanes expected.  Another factor in this forecast is the potential development of an El Nino Southern Oscillation sometime during the season,  in their last update NOAA put the odds of development at 50% It is important to note that there is no strong correlation between the number of storms and the number of U.S. landfalls, so facilities on the Atlantic coast should prepare regardless of the forecast.  As part of their Weather Ready Nation initiative, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has compiled a robust collection of useful links and helpful tips  for last week’s Hurricane Preparedness Week, accessible here:  https://www.weather.gov/wrn/hurricane-preparedness .   Safety Summit 2017 In late March, the ZAHP Fusion Center participated in the Safety Summit held at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Midyear meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We are happy to share the following presentations and relevant documents with you: DHS Critical Infrastructure Risk Assessment Program (courtesy of Jeff Murray, Protective Security Advisor – Department of Homeland Security) Attendees were given an introduction to the Department of Homeland Security’s Critical Infrastructure Risk Assessment Program. Under this program Protective Security Advisors are able to assist facility owners and operators via Assist Visits and a subsequent Infrastructure Survey Tool (IST) security survey,  ultimately providing a detailed assessment of the security and resilience of a facility.  More information can be found at https://www.dhs.gov/critical-infrastructure-vulnerability-assessments , but some key point from the introduction to this program are that it is:  Completely free Voluntary and non-regulatory, i.e. you will not be reported to any regulatory agencies Protected under the Critical Infrastructure Information Act, i.e. your data will not be shared Available to facilities of all business models  Each US state and territory has at least one protective security advisor that can answer any questions you may have and help you get started with the program. You can get in touch with yours by emailing pscdoperations@hq.dhs.gov. Hurricane Matthew: Information, Coordination and Lessons Learned (courtesy of Rick Holzsworth, Safety and Security – Jacksonville Zoo)  In this session, updates will be provided on preparedness and response measures in Florida institutions for Hurricane Matthew. Conducting Complex Animal Escape Drills and Pre-Planning Events (courtesy of Anne Knapp, Director of Animal Resources and Andrea Lewicki, Administrative Assistant – Zoo New England) In this session, Zoo New England […]


USDA Confirms Second Case of HPAI in TN

Yesterday the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed a second case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in a commercial flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee.  This is the same North American wild bird origin H7N9 strain that was previously confirmed in TN. It is NOT the same H7N9 that infected humans in Asia.  The full announcement has been included at the bottom of this email.  As you may be aware,  Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza (LPAI) has also been detected in Tennessee (https://www.tn.gov/agriculture/news/49066) .  While the epidemiology  for both the low and high path strains found is ongoing, they are believed to be closely related. Facilities in the affected area should monitor information provided on their State Animal Health Official’s Websites.   If you would like to stay up to date on surveillance efforts there are a number of reports available here,  https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/animal-disease-information/avian-influenza-disease/defend-the-flock/defend-the-flock-ai-wild-birds , including Monthly Summary Data from the National Wild Bird Avian Influenza Surveillance Program.  Looking abroad, the current HPAI outbreak in Europe sadly affected a zoo last week.  Despite being kept in a tent since December as a preventative measure, one of the pelicans at the Schoenbrunn Zoo in Vienna, Austria became acutely ill and was euthanized early last week.  Subsequent testing confirmed the presence of HPAI H5N8  in the rest of the flock, and they were culled in order to protect the zoos remaining bird stock (http://www.agriculture.com/markets/newswire/vienna-zoo-puts-20-pelicans-to-sleep-after-bird-flu-virus-found). A number of you have already contacted the ZAHP Fusion Center with questions and concerns as you work on updating plains for avian influenza, and we encourage you to continue to reach out with your questions.  One commonly requested item is plan examples,  and we do have a handful of de-identified institutional plans that can be provided as an additional resource upon request.  Please send any questions or request to azielinski@aza.org.    USDA Confirms Second Case of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in a Commercial Flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed a second case of highly pathogenic H7N9 avian influenza in a commercial breeder flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee.  This H7N9 strain is of North American wild bird lineage and is the same strain of avian influenza that was previously confirmed in Tennessee.  It is NOT the same as the China H7N9 virus that has impacted poultry and infected humans in Asia.  The flock of 55,000 chickens is located in the Mississippi flyway, within three kilometers of the first Tennessee case. Samples from the affected flock, which displayed signs of illness and experienced increased mortality, were tested at Tennessee’s Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory and confirmed at the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa. USDA is working with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture on the joint incident response.  State officials quarantined the affected premises, and depopulation has begun.  Federal and State partners will conduct surveillance and testing of commercial and backyard poultry within a 10 kilometer (6.2 mile) radius of the site.   The United States has […]


USDA Confirms HPAI in Lincoln County, Tennessee

On March 5th the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed the detection of Highly Pathogenic H7 Avian Influenza in a commercial chicken breeder flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee, within the Mississippi flyway.  Please see the full announcement from the USDA, included at the end of this post.   We are able to provide you with additional information on this event via staff participation in a USDA industry update, and cooperation from Dr. Hayley Murphy of Zoo Atlanta, who is participating in regional calls as a subject matter expert  on the zoological community for the Georgia Department of Agriculture.  Updates on this event are as follows:  A large Surveillance Zone has been established with a 10-mile radius; this was extended from the standard 10 kilometer radius at the producer’s request.  So far, all samples from other barns on the index premises are negative for HPAI, as are samples from other sites in the surveillance area.   Initial sequencing indicates that this H7 is North American, wild bird origin.  At this time, the risk to human safety appears to be low.  Low path H7 strains have been detected in routine wild bird surveillance this year with no associated outbreaks in poultry.  This is the first HPAI H7 detected in poultry this year.  USDA continues to collect samples and will adjust surveillance strategies as more is known about this virus, or if any other premises become infected. Dr. Hayley Murphy of Zoo Atlanta is participating in regional phone calls as warranted, and will provide any pertinent information for dissemination to this group.  Update:  USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) have identified the virus as North American wild bird lineage H7N9.  This is NOT the same as the China H7N9 virus that has impacted poultry and infected humans in Asia.  See the press release for additional information.  There has also been a detection of Low Pathogenic AI, H5N2 in a turkey flock in Wisconsin.  This is also a North American origin virus and there has not been any morbidity or mortality in connection with the virus in these birds thus far, therefore not meeting any criteria for a case definition of HPAI.  USDA and Wisconsin continue to monitor this situation, and ZAHP will provide addition al updates on this detection as warranted. Depending on location, exhibitors may be contacted about participating in surveillance.  Expect that recommendations will include strong messages about prevention of contact between backyard poultry and wild birds ( this includes domestic poultry in outdoor exhibits).   Facilities looking to evaluate their preparedness for an Avian Influenza outbreak may want to review the HPAI Checklist developed by the ZAHP Fusion Center.  Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns, or would like to receive updates directly to your inbox.  USDA Confirms Highly Pathogenic H7 Avian Influenza in a Commercial Flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee Last Modified: Mar 6, 2017 Print Contacts: Donna Karlsons, 301-851-4107 Donna.L.Karlsons@aphis.usda.gov Lyndsay Cole, 970-494-7410 Lyndsay.M.Cole@aphis.usda.gov March 5, 2017, Washington – The United States Department of […]


Microgrants for Contingency Planning Available!

To promote the institutional development of contingency plans, The ZAHP Fusion Center will offer a series of micro-grants to exotic animal industry facilities to assist with their contingency planning.  Sound contingency planning requires scheduled meetings, including local planning partners, first responders and facility staff. The Fusion Center is offering to assist with individual planning by providing support (via reimbursement) for facility planning meetings and subsequent plan development.  The Fusion Center will award up to 8 – $500.00 micro-grants to assist in the planning process in the exotic animal industry.  These funds can be used for meeting expenses such as lunches (excluding alcohol), printed materials, mileage for travel, or to assist with time spent by employees in the planning process.    How to Apply To apply please complete the application and questionnaire (questions begin on page 3) . Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis until all funds have been awarded or June 1, 2017, whichever comes first.   Selection criteria will be based on the following: Existing plans   Priority will be given to facilities that have the furthest to go to develop a contingency plan. Collection  Facilities with dangerous animals will be given priority.  Non-profit entities will be given priority Match to the grant Facilities are asked to describe the ‘match’ to the $500.00 grant.  This could be in the form of meals provided to participants (excluding alcohol), or staff time committed to the meeting and subsequent plan development. Cooperation and Collaboration Any proposal that would bring together two or more facilities would be given priority.  That networking with local stakeholders and similar facilities encourages local & regional collaboration with other like facilities or groups.   If Your Facility is Selected The ZAHP Fusion Center will arrange a conference call with each facility that is awarded a grant.   This will be an opportunity to clear up any questions about the award process or expectations for awardees. The facility must hold the supported meeting by July 31, 2017 to allow ample time to complete the mandatory follow up questionnaire and phone consult, and to allow for processing of reimbursement.   Reporting Requirements and Reimbursement: Requirements for receiving reimbursement will include completion of a post-meeting questionnaire, plus a phone interview with the Fusion Center. This will allow the Fusion Center to capture any additional lessons learned, gaps, or ways forward for individual planning.  Reimbursements are payable upon completion of these requirements.    Please do not hesitate to contact us via email at azielinski@aza.org if you have any questions or concerns about this opportunity.    


HPAI Updates, Surveillance, and Outbreaks Abroad

Update 2: January 12, 2017 Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses continue to be detected around the world.  On January 9, USDA announced the detection of an HPAI H5 in Montana in a mallard duck that was part of routine surveillance activities.   It is hoped that this detection will be isolated, as was the detection in the same duck species in Alaska in late 2016.  Sadly, an H5N8 has impacted a swannery in Dorset, England,  and a Russian zoo recently depopulated its entire bird collection* due to HPAI. In addition to the H5 viruses that are spreading throughout Asia and Europe, other strains are making the news.  A rare case of H7N2 infected a Manhattan animal shelter, and caused illness in one of the attending veterinarians.    Update 1:  December 13, 2016  The United States continues to conduct surveillance for HPAI in wild birds as outbreaks continue in Europe and Asia.  Please see the bulletin from the USGS National Wildlife Health Center,   for important information on current HPAI events, domestic surveillance for HPAI in wild birds, safety guidelines and precautions, and more.  We recommend reading this bulletin in its entirety “The purpose of this Bulletin is to review events that led to the emergence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in North America in late 2014 and to provide an overview of HPAI mortality events and detections that are currently occurring in poultry and wild migratory birds of Europe and Asia”   Original Post:  Since we have moved into the migration season some of you have reached out to inquire about the status of highly pathogenic avian influenza.  Things have been quiet so far in the US, with the last positive sample having been collected from a wild mallard in Alaska this past August.  A table of positive surveillance results, updated weekly, can be found here: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/downloads/animal_diseases/ai/uspositivecases17.pdf .  The ZAHP Fusion Center is also following the developments of current HPAI events in Europe and India.   As you may be aware,  in mid-October avian flu sub-type H5N8 (new to India) was discovered at a zoo in Gwailor, India after samples were taken from some of the 15 painted storks that died over the span of a few days.  The rest of the painted storks at the zoo were culled.  This month H5N8 has been discovered in wild birds in Croatia, Hungary, Germany, and Poland, as well as in Austria on Lake Constance near the borders of Switzerland and Liechtenstein.  More information about the events in India and throughout Europe can be found at the following links:   http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/birds-in-gwalior-zoo-died-of-new-avian-flu-subtype-officials/313230.html http://www.telegraphindia.com/1161024/jsp/jharkhand/story_115177.jsp#.WCYSOYWcFYd  http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2016/11/h5n8-spreads-wild-birds-germany-austria http://www.fao.org/ag/againfo/programmes/en/empres/news_031116b.html  


New World Screwworm

The United States Department of Agriculture announced yesterday that a case of New World Screwworm has been detected outside of a Control Zone that was established in the Florida Keys last year in response to the outbreak in the Key deer population.  The new case was found in Homestead, FL in a domestic dog. Screwworm is a concern as these fly maggots, unlike most maggots, will continue to feed on perfectly healthy tissue, severely debilitating the animal and usually leads to death if not treated.  Extensive efforts have been mounted by USDA to protect the endangered Key deer and other animals. The epidemiological report can be viewed here: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/stakeholders/downloads/2017/nws-epi-report.pdf. This fly will lay its eggs on multiple species (including rarely, man) so per the USDA press release sent out January 9th:   “Residents who have warm-blooded animals (pets, livestock, etc.) should watch their animals carefully. Florida residents should report any potential cases to 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352) or non-Florida residents should call (850) 410-3800.  Visitors to the area should ensure any pets that are with them are also checked, in order to prevent the spread of this infestation.”  


Wildfire Preparedness

  Wildfire preparedness is top of mind after the deadly wildfire in Tennessee. While news out of Gatlinburg showed managed wildlife facilities fared very well, it is a somber reminder that planning for such events is essential.  Preserving human life is always the highest priority in an emergency situation and it is quite possible that your area will have a mandatory evacuation if threatened by wildfire.  However, there are steps you can take beforehand to mitigate risk to your animals and your facility.  Please see the below resources on wildfire preparedness for further information: The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) General wildfire preparedness http://www.firewise.org/wildfire-preparedness.aspx Defensible space http://www.firewise.org/wildfire-preparedness/be-firewise/home-and-landscape/defensible-space.aspx Landscaping and plant lists http://www.firewise.org/wildfire-preparedness/firewise-landscaping-and-plant-lists.aspx  The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) How to Prepare for a Wildfire https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1409003859391-0e8ad1ed42c129f11fbc23d008d1ee85/how_to_prepare_wildfire_033014_508.pdf Ready.gov wildfire preparedness https://www.ready.gov/wildfires   Red Cross Wildfire preparation, response, and recovery, including active wildfire maps http://www.redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/wildfire#Recover  


Foreign Animal Disease Presentations and Preparedness Meetings

Foreign Animal Diseases: Health Emergencies and Continuity Crushers Presentations Foreign Animal Diseases (FADs) represent a threat to our mission of connecting the public to the natural world through our animals.  Whether an FAD directly causes disease in the collection, or if movement restrictions prevent breeding recommendations, our business continuity will be affected.  This session, presented at the AZA Annual Conference in San Diego, CA, brought several institutions together to discuss their experiences with preparedness for Foreign Animal Disease, including ‘lessons learned’ from the 2014-2015 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreak in the US. Individual presentations from this session can be viewed below: –   Size Doesn’t Matter! Even Small to Medium Sized Zoos can Build BIG Relationships that Lead to Comprehensive Foreign Animal Disease Outbreak Preparedness – Julie Barnes,  DVM, Director of Animal Health, Santa Barbara Zoo –   Updates on Foot and Mouth Disease Preparedness for the Exotic Animal Industry – Yvonne Nadler, Program Manager, ZAHP Fusion Center – There’s something in the Wind: Great Plains Zoo’s Response to the 2014 – 2015 HPAI Outbreak – Lisa Smith, Senior Director of Animal Programs, Great Plains Zoo –  Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza – Testing Response Plans the Hard Way –  Bruce Rideout, Michael Mace, Donald Janssen, David Rimlinger, and Nadine Lamberski, San Diego Zoo Global   National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Meeting  Drs. Yvonne Nadler and Jimmy Tickel attended a break out session at the recent National Association of State Departments of Agriculture meeting in Omaha, Nebraska where the ZAHP Fusion Center was asked to speak to attendees about the exotic animal industry and all-hazards preparedness.  The industry preparedness for highly pathogenic avian influenza was discussed, and Dr. Tickel continued the foreign animal disease discussion with updates on the Fusion Center’s Secure Zoo Strategy.  Secure Zoo is a platform for prevention for Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD).  In the next several months, some key updates will be made to the Secure Zoo website which will provide guidance, templates and self-assessment tools for FMD prevention. See the Secure Zoo website at www.securezoostrategy.org for more information. The agricultural officials were very engaged, and recognized that zoological institutions must be considered in their planning efforts!  Don’t be surprised if they reach out to YOU for more information about your collections and planning.   National Preparedness Roundtable  The ZAHP Fusion Center was privileged to attend the White House National Preparedness Roundtable, which was held September 28th.  This meeting shared some key results of the Federal Emergency Management Agency 2016 National Preparedness Report.  Great strides have been made in preparedness, but there is always work to do to make our Country more resilient. The roundtable was a chance to network and provide feedback on the report.  View the report at: https://www.fema.gov/national-preparedness-report    


Hurricane Matthew

UPDATE 3: November 15, 2016  It has been one month since Hurricane Matthew, and while recovery will continue for some time in many of the affected regions, we would like to share some positive stories about facilities in our industry that have come out of this disaster. St. Augustine’s Alligator Farm:  http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/10/07/stork-finds-refuge-from-hurricane-matthew-in-zoo-bathroom.html Waccatee Zoo:  http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/news/local/article106294547.html Jacksonville Zoo:       http://www.wokv.com/news/news/local/jfrd-helps-jacksonville-zoo-board-hurricane-matthe/nsmLF/ UPDATE 2: October 17, 2016 In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, the ZAHP Fusion center participated in nightly situational update calls on animal issues, and was able to assist in coordination of resources and information sharing down to local emergency management systems and response partners for action.  Locals have done a great job in managing animal issues! To the facilities who stepped up to help their neighboring facilities in need, well done!  We recognize the wonderful work that continues to be done by individual facilities, local emergency management and volunteers who assisted during and after Matthew.   UPDATE 1: October 7, 2016  As Hurricane Matthew continues to make its way up the east coast, please remember the importance of documentation in your recovery efforts.  Insurance companies will need documentation of all of your losses, time spent on response by your employees, and any services rendered.  If your institution is eligible for FEMA reimbursement this information will be vital in preparing your request. We have included downloadable to do lists and tracking documents below for anyone that may not have a template available. These documents are  provided courtesy of Lynn Cox at Detroit Zoological Society . Flood – To Do Lists Vendor list Time Sheet – for Salary EES If your institution has concerns about data back-up and recovery, there are a couple of firms offering free services for businesses that may be impacted by Hurricane Matthew.  More information about these services can be found here: http://talkincloud.com/cloud-computing-slas/backup-and-disaster-recovery-firms-offer-free-services-wake-hurricane-matthew .   ORIGINAL POST: October 5, 2016: As you are aware, Hurricane Matthew is quickly approaching the East Coast causing the Governors of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina to declare states of emergency. Most of you located in areas of potential impact already have hurricane plans in place, but we have included a couple of additional resources that may be of assistance below. We are closely monitoring this event, and welcome you to contact us if you have any questions or feel we may otherwise be of assistance to you at this time. Please remember incidents begin and end locally. While we share general information, look to your local emergency management agency for specific information about your area. The FEMA mobile app provides resources, weather alerts, important maps and safety tips This FEMA press release includes additional tips and information in preparation for Hurricane Matthew Google Crisis Maps show public alerts, evacuation resources, and shelters.